Officials overseeing the possible rebuilding of East Hampton High School are estimating that the new building would be 133,863 total square feet, up slightly from the school’s current footprint of 128,495 square feet.
While the building would be larger, the actual program space in it would be less. The current high school programming space is 90,347 square feet. Under the renovation plan, the program space would be reduced to 87,011.
The change, architects told the Board of Education at a special meeting Thursday, is the result of adding more bathrooms, corridors and other non-programming space as required by current building codes and educational specifications.
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Despite the reduction, they said, the renovated school would have adequate programming space for students and teachers.
The architects said they are still in the process of assessing the space needs at the high school and will begin to design the renovation project once a final space requirement is set for the building. The process for determining that space, they said, has included interviews with teachers, students and administrators at the high school to determine how the current space is being used.
“With every department they looked at what they were doing, what they would like to have,” said John Fidler, the high school’s principal.
One of the things the architects learned about during the process is the significant level of respect between students and staff at the school, said Amy Christmas, one of the architects.
“We were very surprised by the respect between students and faculty here,” Christmas said. Students are allowed more freedom than normally seen in other high schools and are allowed to seek out teachers in other classrooms during the day.
“It’s something we normally see at the college level,” she said.
That culture, she added, will allow for more flexibility when designing the new school.
Fidler said whatever interior design is ultimately developed for the new high school, he would like to see teachers able to keep their own classrooms. The school’s collegiate culture, he said, is linked to the identity teachers and students have for each teacher’s classroom.
“Were still hoping to foster that collegiately, that collaborative teaching,” he said.
The architects are expected to develop a cost analysis for the “renovate as new” plan that would go to referendum this spring. The renovation is expected to take several years, if voters approve it.
The district would seek reimbursement from the state for a portion of the project’s costs.