In August, Allen D. Nease High School, located in northeast St. Johns County, Fla., opened its doors to the new Gateway building addition for the 2018 school year. Pond provided architectural services for the design of facilities, classroom additions and site improvements. The project required a new visionary Master Plan that brings a cohesive 21st century design solution to the campus. This Master Plan was designed to be implemented in several phases and proposed a new campus “front door,” inclusive of a 65,000 square foot classroom building to include a media center, administrative offices, classrooms, café and student services center.
The project also improved site entrance ways, parking, as well as traffic flow to and from the school. A new outdoor ‘student street’ was proposed to provide much needed consolidated and easy-to-monitor gathering and collaboration space. In addition to new construction, extensive renovations to several existing ‘octagonal classroom pods’ are planned which will provide more usable and flexible instructional spaces throughout the campus.
In addition to the media center and cafeteria, the Gateway building boasts 13 classrooms, six resource classrooms, two engineering laboratories, one hospitality laboratory and four skills laboratories. The newly expanded student parking lot, which substantially increased student parking spaces, also opened this past August. Lead Design Architect Chris Kaye and Project Architect Mike Dennison have been involved with the project throughout master planning and design, and continue to oversee the remaining pod renovations that will continue through 2018.
Designed in 1981 and opened to students in 1984, Nease was initially built as a middle/senior high school to accommodate a student population of 1,500, with the current project increasing the design capacity to 2,100 students. Experiencing recent growth in the northern portion of the county, Nease grew beyond capacity and two additional high schools were built to alleviate overcrowding – Bartram Trail High School (2000) and Ponte Vedra High School (2008). Still, with a current student population of 2,300, Nease has continued to experience rapid growth and overcrowding requiring expansion.
Due in part to a great reputation for excellent education and their many sports programs, Nease currently ranks 51st (out of 688) among high schools in the state of Florida, and is a Silver Medal school, ranked at 752 nationally. With this needed expansion, the school will be able to meet the demands of the growing area.
Pond is honored to work with Nease High School in bringing this vision to life and enhancing the environment for students and facility alike.