MARTIN — Floyd County Board of Education members voted Thursday in a specially-called meeting at May Valley Elementary to approve the preliminary schematic design of the county’s upcoming new high school.
Architects with Sherman-Carter-Barnhart, led by Kevin Cheek, took board members on a virtual tour using a 3D computer rendering of the site, demonstrating the way the modern new building will sit in the valley and the winding road that will lead up to the campus’ athletic fields. The facility will be nestled between two mountains on Route 680, overlooking Gosling Branch. Cheek then demonstrated the possibilities of the building’s three-story floor plan. The design leaves room for a massive media center at the front entrance, with glass walls, open to the second floor. Although compact, the design leaves room for numerous staircases, a generously sized auditorium with balcony, computer lab, and labs for several areas of college and career preparatory study, including business, media/arts, and health.
Cheek told the board that priorities in the design were efficient use of the space on hand, getting ample daylight into the building, and configuring spaces to suit the new paradigms of the 21st century school. He says that, for example, the school’s digital conversion may make an old-fashioned computer lab obsolete, allowing the space to be repurposed, and that the balcony overlooking the auditorium could include retractable seating and a divider to convert the space into a college-style lecture hall.
Dedicated indoor spaces have been established for the ROTC, an archery program, and concessions outside the gymnasium. The gym will also feature a second-story walking track.
The ample cafeteria is adjacent to a large kitchen space, which Cheek says will allow the school to implement a food court-style serving area.
Overall, the design leaves a gross total of nearly 140,000 square feet, with nearly 88,000 square feet as classroom space.
At this phase, nothing has been finalized, and Cheek was quick to remind the board that the usage of the school’s flexible classroom space is up to Floyd County educators, not the architectural team.
The board did not merely rubber stamp the design, however. Members asked tough questions about safety, parking, and drainage. Sufficient drainage, Cheek agrees, will be a top priority as the project moves forward.
The board then approved the design, which will be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education for approval.