Across the Nation: historic renovation

Historic high school renovation underway SEATTLE - Plans are underway for additions and renovations to the historic West Seattle High School. Originally designed in 1917, with an addition in 1924, the building currently is a two-story, neo-Romanesque style facility constructed of buff-colored brick with cream terra-cotta trim and a gabled clay-tile roof.

Goals of the $32 million project include the restoration of the original structure, demolition of later additions, and construction of a 123,000-square-foot addition. When completed in September 2002, the project will provide an environment that facilitates the academic, social and physical development of the students. Once completed, the facility will total 198,000 square feet.

The new addition will complement the massing of the scale of the original building, and will be arranged to provide a major entry to the school from California Avenue. The new gymnasium, theater and commons spaces will surround an entry courtyard that will foster a student community and serve as a foyer for the large-assembly spaces. The new classrooms will be configured to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of current and future educational goals.

Architect for the project is Bassetti Architects.

An innovative pilot program introduced by the Texas Department of Transportation's Dallas District may reduce the chances of students being killed or injured in traffic-related incidents near schools. The program, Precious Cargo, is designed to facilitate communication and cooperation between TxDOT and local schools in an effort to establish safe traffic environments around schools.

The program will allow TxDOT staff, when asked by local school districts, to review site plans of future school facilities, and make recommendations for improving traffic safety and efficiency before a problem ever occurs. The program also proposes that unbudgeted road improvements requested by school districts might be accomplished through a partnership, with a community providing materials and TxDOT providing supplies, equipment and labor.

Jay Nelson, TxDOT Dallas District Engineer, says the department is particularly concerned with the construction of new schools, but the program will be available to all schools experiencing traffic problems within the Dallas District's seven-county area.

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