Bartlett becomes latest suburb considering a renovated school

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Commercial Appeal
Clay Bailey (March 30, 2017)

Bartlett will unveil plans for a renovated high school Thursday night — a project approaching $60 million — that will upgrade the campus on the suburb’s west side.

Details of the renovation are part of a 7 p.m. presentation in the high school auditorium.

Eventually, that meeting area, like much of the campus on Woodlawn north of Stage, will be updated, renovated and rejuvenated.

“It’s old and tired,” Jeff Norris, chairman of the Bartlett City Schools Board of Education, said of the school — parts of which are 100 years old. The most recent work at the school that had any impact on education was about 40 years ago.

The renovation is a testament to the growth not only of Bartlett schools, but a continuing commentary on the initial success of the six municipal school systems across Shelby County. Collierville is building a new high school that will approach $100 million. Germantown is expanding Riverdale School on the west side of the city and has suggested a site for a new elementary school in the southeast corner of that suburb.

Lakeland is building a new prep school.

The Bartlett plans seem to focus on filling in some of the open areas of the buildings piece-mealed together on the 26-acre site. Part of the plans call for upgrade of classroom settings, meeting areas and athletic facilities.

Growth in enrollment dictates a need for additional space. An upgrade in facilities is necessary because of the age of the buildings and the need to remain competitive with the other suburban districts. And, while there was a bit of a desire to have a more central location in Bartlett, a second high school wasn’t a viable option because of the split in allegiance it would cause. Not to mention finding a 100-acre location and the money to buy a new site adds to the overall cost of the project.

“This financially made more sense,” David Stephens, the district’s superintendent, said.

We will have a story later this evening regarding the details of the plan.