SALEM — When architects for the $75 million Salem High School renovation project presented initial sketches for the new entrances at the school last month, some School Board members thought those plans strayed too far from what was presented to voters during the March bond vote.
Lance Whitehead of Lavallee Brensinger, the architectural firm for the project, was back before the School Board recently with revised plans that were closer to the initial concept and had board members nodding their heads in approval.
“There were several different concepts and the one that rose to the top was a simple, elegant facade,” said Whitehead. Whitehead presented illustrations of the school’s main entrance, the entrance to the auditorium and gym, and a third entrance to the school’s Career and Technical Education center. The entrances all featured brick and glass enclosures that consistent with the existing building, according to Whitehead.
“It very much keeps with the original structure of the building,” he said. The revised proposed entrances introduce materials that are durable and low maintenance, Whitehead added.
“The glass at the entrance is a very simple and well-proportioned design that is consistent with the current building,” Whitehead said. “It just brings it into the 21st century.”
The primary entrance to the high school will be the largest in order to make it clear to visitors that is the building’s main point of entry.
“I like it,” said board Chairman Patricia Corbett.
Major construction work on the project is scheduled to begin by next spring and summer.
Much of that first phase of work will take place near the main entrance of the high school as well as in the cafeteria, kitchen, and main gym.
The second phase of the project, scheduled for the fall, winter, and spring of the 2015-16 school year includes building a new auditorium, music spaces, gymnasium, and locker rooms.
The third phase, which will take place from 2016 through 2017 will see some of the heaviest construction, according to Whitehead. That phase includes the construction of the new Career and Technical Education center as well as the entire new Science, Technology, and Math wing.