The design for the new Simon Sanchez High School campus may only be 30% complete but stakeholders were wowed with how it looks so far.
The design has been long awaited by teachers, administrators, students, and Guam Department of Education officials who put to paper - 25 pages - what they wanted to see in a new facility.
That was in 2015.
However, delays caused by procurement challenges and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic meant not much work could be done.
On Tuesday night, Tanaguchi Ruth Makio Architects took the community through a virtual tour of what the campus might look like when it’s complete.
The design should be 60% complete by November. Construction is expected to start next year and the two phases of construction, which will provide the school with more than 90 classrooms, its very own cafeteria, a brand new gym, an auditorium, a firing range, and a complete track and field, will be completed in 2024.
The design includes skylights, connects textured walls, which pair with a cost-effective construction as well as an environment-friendly and energy-efficient features, the architects noted.
The 282,000 square foot design for Phase 1 of the new campus includes flexible learning spaces for 1,900 students. There are 94 classrooms housed within various buildings, which will incorporate sky lights to bring natural light into the learning environments.
“Each classroom is 30 by 32 feet (that's) more than the traditional or the usual classroom spaces that we have here which are 30 by 30 feet. This allows for storage and shelving to not cut into the classroom space and allows for more flexibility of custom layouts,” architect Elmer Prudente Jr. said. “All in all the proposed campus contains 94 classrooms to meet the core requirements of the school, including business classes, family, consumer sciences, general education classes, Fine Arts, electives, PE, Guam Community College programs and the Junior ROTC program.”
The new facility will even have a space for an indoor firing range for the JROTC program.
The Sharks will finally have a cafeteria of their own after decades of sharing a cafeteria with F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School.
The new cafeteria will seat roughly 440 students.
“And the kitchen is being proposed to be used in satellite kitchen, to prepare meals for other schools in the vicinity,” Prudente said. “The school program and curriculum includes seven GCC programs, classrooms and facilities are also provided for these.”
Earning graduation credits
The new facility will also have a stand-alone building to house a Credit Recovery Facility.
“This credit recovery facility separate from the main campus and this structure consists of four classrooms staff lounge, and dining hall, office space, it has ample storage and restroom facilities,” Prudente said.
High traffic buildings such as the gym and auditorium were strategically placed at the front of the schools main campus to reduce unnecessary foot traffic after school hours.
The 12,000-square-foot auditorium will be able to accommodate 250 to 300 students at a time. The design of the auditorium centered on musical performances but TRMA architects said it could also accommodate theatrical performances.
A new gym will seat 864 students.
It will feature a full size court, locker rooms, three classroom spaces and storage enough for their interscholastic sports, and their extra-curricular activities, according to Cedric Cruz, TRMA’s lead architect.
Also at the front of the campus is the Administration building, the controlled entry point. The main office, and other school offices such as the Nurse’s Office and Counselors offices will be on the first floor, and the second floor will be a library.
Construction will occur in two phases, to allow educational activities at the existing SSHS facility to continue uninterrupted. The new SSHS campus will be built south of the existing facility.
During the construction of phase 1, students will be housed in the old facility. When phase 1 is complete, students will be moved into the new facility and the old facility will be demolished to begin construction on phase 2.
When phase two of the project is complete Simon Sanchez High will finally be able to host other athletic activities outside of the gym.
“The project proposes to include an athletic running track surrounding the soccer and football fields… several tennis courts of baseball and softball field, and a multipurpose field to be shared with FB Leandro Middle School,” Prudente said.
The proposed campus will have ample parking with 458 spaces to accommodate faculty, staff, student and visitor parking.
The eight buildings on the campus will form a courtyard large enough to assemblies, lunch period and breaks. Traffic flow for students was designed to alleviate traffic congestion seen at the current facility and at FBLG.
“It provided the opportunity for widening, the existing road to create turning lanes that help alleviate alleviate traffic,” Cruz said.