East Aurora High School has built a new image, one brick at a time.
The high school’s expansion and renovation, which is nearly complete, marks a significant advancement for the students, faculty and administration, according to a news release by Cordogan Clark, the architectural, engineering, interiors, planning and construction firm that spearheaded the work, which includes the addition and renovation of more than 300,000 square feet of facility space as well as construction of a $7 million state-of-the-art stadium.
“The kids are in awe,” East Aurora High School Principal Marina Kosak said. “Because a lot of times it was, this is East Aurora, and they never thought they would have such a beautiful space.”
East Aurora’s 4,000 students now have more elbow room. A new entrance with an open-forum plan, bench seating, and 28-foot ceilings creates a fully functional multi-purpose and gathering area for student activities and functions. In addition, there are 20 new classrooms, a fine arts wing, and a new kitchen.
The new kitchen area provides a unique community function with an integrated yet separate secure area that houses the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, serving needy students daily within the building and on Saturday serving the community.
Student-dedicated spaces once located in the corners of the building are now center stage: The career center and student-run school store are at the new crossroads of the building, adjacent to the cafeteria and library. Renovations also provide a new cafeteria, library, and locker rooms, as well as a state of the art culinary area.
Many challenges with the existing facility were addressed in the new addition and renovation to realign the school with 21st century learning objectives, Cordogan Clark said.
Prior to construction, the school’s hallways were overcrowded, making it difficult to navigate from one classroom to the next. A significant reconfiguration of the hallways has greatly reduced congestion, allowing students to arrive at their next class in a timely manner.
$7 Million Stadium
Environmental concerns and a track that did not meet IHSA standards for competition — and had not held a competition in more than years — were among many items that were addressed with the construction of the $7 million stadium.
Designed for football, track, soccer, JROTC, and physical education classes, the well-equipped stadium seats 3,500 and features artificial turf, an expansive press box with separate rooms for opposing teams, concession stand, energy-efficient LED lights, a brand-new scoreboard, and a paver area complete with donor names to greet visitors at the front entrance and display the Tomcat pride.
Cordogan Clark minimized disruption to students and staff throughout the project. Through strict scheduling and a phased construction approach, the team completed the renovation work during the summer when school was not in session. The additions were worked on throughout the year, with the final phase of the addition opening at the start of the second semester.
The work, part of extensive planned renovations and additions throughout the district, is for the most part complete. One final stage, which includes renovated science rooms, will be completed this summer. Renovations provide a cafeteria, library, culinary arts area and locker rooms.
SOURCE: Cordogan Clark news release