ST. LOUIS — Ladue School District in St. Louis will soon begin construction on a new $82.2 million addition and renovation to Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Construction on the high school will focus primarily on updating the building’s academic core, where classrooms have not been significantly renovated since they were built in the 1950s and 1960s. The project will likely be open in time to welcome students back for the 2018-2019 school year.
The school district will work with builder S.M. Wilson & Co. of St. Louis to complete the project. Preparations for construction have already begun, with initial efforts focused on creating temporary classrooms within the existing building; installing outdoor classrooms that will primarily be dedicated to science programming; establishing construction staging areas; reconfiguring parking and traffic flow; and beginning abatement and the demolition process of the portion of the backside of the building that will be rebuilt, according to a statement by S.M. Wilson & Co.
Upon completion, the high school will feature classrooms designed to accommodate modern educational best practices, which require spaces conducive to collaboration across disciplines; small group work; the integrated use of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM); and the opportunity for students to apply their knowledge in real-world applications and group-based projects. Other features will include a three-story commons area at the apex of corridors leading to various academic areas; seminar and breakout areas mixed in with classrooms, enabling small group work; a lecture area large enough to enable speakers to address multiple classes simultaneously; and spaces to exhibit student work.
S. M. Wilson provided pre-referendum informational services to the Ladue School District, and will provide pre-construction and construction management services as well. Locally based Hastings+Chivetta and Bond Architects together comprise the project’s architectural firms team, and also began work on the project well before the initiative was approved this spring.
Funding for the project will come from an $85.1 million bond referendum passed in April by the district’s voters. The remaining funds will cover HVAC, technology and safety upgrades at other district schools.