Photo by: Cade Spencer, Shikha Patel, Shruti Patel
Summer plans for a school makeover
As the glorious months of summer approach, seniors eagerly prepare for college, students and teachers dream of restful vacations, and the campus falls into silence. As Bowie closes down for the break, the Campus Architecture Team prepares for a new phase of summer construction.
In order to undergo construction in accordance with the 2017 AISD bond and Campus Architecture Team, the Bowie Campus will be closed from May 30 to August 12.
“The CTA is composed of students, administration, faculty, parents, and architects with the support of the AISD central office staff,” CAT Parent Representative Brian Crow said. “For the [summer phase], addressing parking was an absolute requirement before we could start even one project to build new spaces for the school.”
Before the CAT can begin construction on the academic facilities, city regulation requires the addition of 200 spots to the school lots.
“The summer construction is going to include the Slaughter entrance and all of the parking area in the front,” CAT Management Assistant Debby Theis said. “They are going to reconfigure the loop, which will feed back onto Slaughter, for where the garage is going to be.”
In addition, the new parking arrangement will include an exit way onto Slaughter with 2 left turn lanes and 1 right turn lane.
“I am most excited about the addition of turn lanes exiting the parking lot onto Slaughter,” Crow said. “[They] will make a huge and visible difference in getting students out of the parking lot at the conclusion of the day.”
Another major aspect of the first phase of construction will be the campus parking garage; however, work on the garage is scheduled to continue into the 2019-2020 school year. When the new garage is completed, it will consist of four levels with an additional 900 spots.
“All of the parking area in front of the academic wings will be used in the first phase construction of the garage,” Theis said. “On top of the garage will be tennis courts, and this will allow for the [current] tennis courts to be demolished to [provide land] for an athletic complex.”
As the parking lot changes, incoming senior Emma Davis described that she is sad to see some of the old campus traditions leave.
“Next year, I will miss the painted and personalized [senior] parking spots,” Davis said. “[They] were a big part of what made Bowie stand out in comparison to other schools.”
In addition to the garage, the remainder of the school lot will be transformed to fulfill a multi-purpose role.
“There will be parking available for seniors in the new lot that will be constructed this summer,” Theis said. “[Eventually] it will be considered the marching band lot, but it will be striped for parking.”
Because construction on the parking garage is expected to last into the school year, incoming seniors and juniors will have to apply, until May 23, to be granted permits in the campus lot (A) or Bethany Lutheran Church and Preschool parking area (B).
“I am disappointed about parking in the church as a senior because I feel like we should have gotten the same opportunities [as] seniors in previous years,” Davis said. “[However], in the long run I understand that it is necessary for them to move us to the church lots to benefit Bowie’s student population.”
While construction in the academic buildings is not planned to occur over summer, HVAC system repairs will take place.
“The HVAC or AC and heat renovations in the academic wings will have two phases finishing up from the bond of 2013,” Theis said. “We did one phase last summer where they did all of the piping underground, and for the summer and through the year they will be changing out units and air handlers.”
Despite crucial repairs in the parking lot, Crow explained that he is more excited for the renovations that are to come for the overall school facility.
“While our focus is on fine arts and athletic spaces for the bright future, we had to address parking and traffic flow as a foundation project,” Crow said. “The result will be a beautiful new campus look with improved safety and traffic flow.
In addition, garage construction will force some junior and sophomore drivers to park at the Westoak Woods Baptist Church next year and shuttle into school.
“There will be a shuttle from the new temporary parking lot to Bowie that will run from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM,” Theis said. “This depends on the demand, and as we get through the year we’ll be able to see how many people are using it.”
In order to commemorate the beginning of the summer construction, a public groundbreaking event will be held at 9:00 AM on June 6.
“It is an exciting thing to work on and it will be fun to watch it develop and become real,” Theis said. “We have been talking about it and planning for over a year now, so to watch it actually take place will be really exciting.”