DUSD hires architect for DHS expansion

An expansion project at Douglas High School is scheduled to start shortly. Enough space needs to be built to accommodate a projected 800—900 student increase over the next eight years.

The Douglas School Board held a special board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18 where they hired an architect firm as well as a project management group for an expansion project at Douglas High School that will begin shortly.

DUSD Superintendent Ana Samaniego said Sketch Architecture Company was hired following multiple interviews that were done as a result of a Request for Qualifications that was sent out this past November.

“We also hired a project manager that will be working for the district and who will be our advocate through this process while also serving as a liaison between the architect firm and the school district,” she said. “Our goal is to have the added space, the renovation ready by August 2021.”

Samaniego said enough space needs to be built to accommodate a projected 800—900 student increase over the next eight years.

“We’re talking additional classroom space, possibly one or two wings, renovating the cafeteria if at all possible, within this budget,” she said. “Our cafeteria, right now holds less than 200 kids. We want to either renovate the cafeteria or create enough space that will include outside eating areas that will still suffice within the project that we have.”

Samaniego wanted it understood, this project is being done at no cost to the taxpayers.

“(The) School Facilities Board (SFB) allocated this money to us based on our request that our high school is over capacity,” she said. “They worked with the city, they gathered some data about the potential increase due to population and based on that information the SFB awarded us $16.5 million to do this project. This is not a bond, this is not an override, it is not costing taxpayers. It is strictly using those state funds.”

Samaniego said the next step is to start meeting with different committees.

“We’ll have a teacher committee, we’ll have a student committee, and then we’ll have another committee with members of the community to try and get some input as to what ideas, as to what the needs and wants are for the high school. The ultimate decision will be made from the architect firm and our initial committee, made up of district people, that will be taking input from those three initial committees. This is what we need to do to get the plans rolling. Very exciting time for our district.”

DHS currently has an enrollment of 1,547 students.