Planning is in the final stages for renovation of Benson Polytechnic High School. The expansive project presents the difficult chore of preserving cherished elements of the muddled campus while preparing it for a new century of technical and career education.
Preservation of the historic elements will include repairing or replacing bricks as needed, restoring windows and cleaning and repairing terra cotta ornamentation.
Overall, the plan includes 165,000 square feet of new construction, bringing the total campus to 379,000 square feet. About 71,000 feet will be new space devoted to technical education. In all, the square footage amounts to more than nine downtown square blocks.
A construction bid for the first design of Benson by the school district’s architect, Floyd Naramore, was rejected because it exceeded the budget. The school district then added Folger Johnson as a “consulting” architect for design revisions. Both men were skilled architects.
When the work is done, one of the most noticeable changes to passers-by on busy N.E. 12th Avenue will be a large X of gently-ramped walkways to accommodate people with disabilities who would have difficulty negotiating the change in elevation from the front sidewalk to the front doors. The drawing below shows these new routes.
(Bassetti Architects/Architectural Resource Group)