Memphis Business Journal (January 30, 2020)
Out with the old and in with the new is one way of describing the transformation taking place at Bartlett High School.
The school is undergoing a massive, $60 million renovation, with the entire project slated to finish in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year, according to Bartlett High School officials.
The upgrades include a new main lobby, Career Technical Education (CTE) building, cafeteria, a gymnasium that seats 2,500, and an auditorium that seats 1,000.
Also included in the renovations: the addition of 17 classrooms or vocational spaces; a fine arts wing with more classroom and studio space; a courtyard with green space, storage, and practice space; a turf football field; and building connectors.
David Stephens, superintendent of Bartlett City Schools, said the high school is adding 148,000 square feet, bringing the campus total to 400,000 square feet.
“The exciting thing is that our seniors, who have been [dealing with] a lot of construction over the past year, are able to reap some of the benefits of the new areas during this second semester of the school year.”
Making sweeping improvements was a priority for a campus with buildings many decades old, including an auditorium built in 1917 and a gym built in 1950.
The last major renovation at Bartlett High was 40 years ago.
“From a safety and security perspective, these were all separate buildings, where kids were constantly having to go outside. We’ve torn down buildings, built new ones, and renovated others that were still in good shape,” Stephens said. “We’re able to connect all these buildings and have all the kids under one roof. From a security standpoint, that is going to be major.”
Stephens said incoming freshmen will continue to be housed at the Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy at the former Shadowlawn Middle School. Over the past five years, Bartlett High has seen enrollment numbers increase from 1,511 in 2014-15 to 2,038 in 2019-20.
The school has been a bit overcrowded, Stephens said, but the upgrades will leave room for future growth and even the chance to add extra stories onto some buildings.
“We are still seeing growth, so these [renovations] will not only get us into the 21st century but also give us some room to grow in the future,” he said.