Completed Project: Harts Bluff ISD New High School "The Bluff"
Originally a result of two school districts merging in 1959 and the consolidation of a third district a few years later, Harts Bluff ISD has serviced students from Elementary School through Junior High for over 60 years. However, because the District did not have a High School, students were given the option to attend Mount Pleasant High School or Chapel Hill High School upon leaving Junior High. For several years the school board discussed opening the District's first ever High School and in 2018, Superintendent Dr. Bobby Rice, began looking into opening a school that would be of greater benefit to students, other than just location.
Dr. Rice was introduced to the Early College High School program, which allows students who are unlikely to attend college, the opportunity to receive an Associate Degree (or at least 60 hours credit towards a Bachelor Degree) along with their high school diploma. The Board of Trustees approved the $3 Million project in June of 2020 and construction began that November.
As the design firm and architect of the project, GLS wanted to deliver a school that not only represented the uniqueness of the program Harts Bluff offers, but also honors the District's dedication to the education of its students by pioneering the first high school of its kind in the area. With that in mind, the two story school has a collaborative layout instead of a branch design, meaning all classrooms are accessed from a large open area (common area) including the second floor, instead of the traditional hallway entrance. The collaborative layout was requested by the District to enhance the learning environment and aid teachers in the synergetic learning style of the school.
In addition to an elevator and stairs, a spiraling slide connects the second floor to the first floor in the collaborative space. Students will be encouraged to use the slide when celebrating an achievement.
Instead of a kitchen with a large traditional cafeteria, students will eat in a small gathering space, designed to model a bistro-type setting. Garage doors separate this eating space from the central common area allowing more room for dining while also increasing airflow. An HVLS (high volume low speed) fan was installed in the collaborative space to decrease the need for AC and make the space more energy efficient.
The elevator shaft doubles as an identifying tower for the school, displaying the Harts Bluff logo to passersby. On the interior of the school, the tower creates a bridge, connecting all of the classrooms together. GLS was excited to implement this into the design of the building because the original name of the school was "The Bridge".
Construction was completed in April of 2022. A ribbon cutting to open the new high school called "The Bluff" was held on April 22nd and doors opened to the first-ever freshmen class for Fall 2022. This will be the first class to graduate from "The Bluff" as the Class of 2026.
The new 24,000 SF, two story building consists of:
2 collaborative spaces
3 break-out rooms
2 administrative offices
1 administrative work room
1 teacher break room
GLS Project Team Members
Heath Aggen (Project Manager, Architect)
Larry Lasiter, P.E. (Engineering)
Jim Owens, P.E. (Engineering)
Eddie Morgan, P.E. (MEP Engineering)
Tamesha Root, RID (Interior Design)