HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Two high schools in Henrico County have been under construction throughout 2020. And the remodels are considered to be the “High Schools of the Future.“
The Henrico County Board of Supervisors approved development plans for the new construction of J.R. Tucker and Highland Springs high schools in June 2019. Construction on the schools began that fall and each new school is expected to cost roughly $80 million.
The plan for J.R. Tucker High School called for the demolition of the existing structure and the foundation has been laid for the new two-story, 265,101 square-foot school. The new Highland Springs High School will also be a two-story, 265,101 square-foot building. The board announced the existing school building “will be retained and reused.”
After months of construction, the principals from each school met with 8News to tour the new facilities under construction.
The schools’ redesign to be a “High School of the Future” involved a process of identifying the best learning environments for students as well as modernizing instructional approaches to better fit 21st-century teaching methods.
Kenneth White, Principal at Highland Springs High School for the last three years, said he is excited for the future of his students.
“With a brand new building that is going to transform teaching and learning, it gives our kids the opportunity to really showcase that they are smart students,” White said. “And we also want to make sure they have opportunities to access anything that they can when it comes to the educational services we provide.”
Principal White says the community has backed the project “since day one.” The new school will also provide interdisciplinary courses to give Highland Springs “Springers” a more eclectic array of learning opportunities.
“We are looking at how we can incorporate more community programs that service our community, bring in more financial literacy to our community, being able to look at what we can do to really service the needs of our entire community,” White said. “The building itself is definitely transforming teaching and learning. It has a lot of extended learning opportunities, different places for students to be able to learn without being in a traditional classroom.”
And he said that adding a nice school can only help the community around them in return.
“It’ll have all these opportunities for parents and students to be able to access our building outside the traditional use of a high school,” White said.
From extra space and rooms to promote active learning, to areas to work collaboratively with other students, White says the possibilities for students are both exciting and top notch.
And they’re both schools are getting new turf football fields to go along with the buildings.
“It helps us house the baddest band this side of the Mississippi, the Marching Battalion.”Principal Kenneth White
At J.R. Tucker, Principal Art Raymond wants to continue mixing Tucker Tiger’s core values into the new building once it is completed.
“As opposed to just it being a brand new building, there’s a lot of the old Tucker and the expectations about who we are and what we’re gonna be and there is excitement in that,” Raymond said.
He has been principal of the school for the last four years after beginning as a teacher at Tucker in 1991, and says the building should truly be looked at as a learning tool as well as a new hope for the futures of students in the area.
“Looking at the building itself as an extension of the learning,” Raymond said. “The building is a learning tool in a way that it usually is not.”
But he and other alumni are emotional at the prospect of demolition of the school that has been on Parham Road since 1962.
“They’re going to be given the opportunity to create some new traditions. I think that is something that usually doesn’t happen in a student’s life.”Principal Art Raymond
Construction for these schools is on schedule to be completed and have students in classrooms by fall 2021.
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