St Helens High School Bond Information Page
On March 28, 2022, St. Helens School District broke ground at St. Helens High School and since then, the construction has not stopped and the demo is in full swing. The scenery at the high school is changing quickly and we hope our community is just as excited as we are.
The entire community will benefit from the construction of the newly renovated high school, not just our students. The design was created with our community in mind. The gyms and auditorium have always been together, but by bringing the commons to that side and adding a courtyard, it will be a fantastic venue for community events and performances. The updated sports field with the added turf positioned next to the new Park and Rec Building on Gable Road will allow community access to usable fields year-round. Our partnership with the City of St. Helens and the Park and Rec District will allow organized activities managed by Park and Rec to host youth sports and tournaments throughout the year.
Our classrooms will be updated with the most current technology and will be completely renovated so spaces are more welcoming. Science rooms will be designed future-ready and provide students with the most current equipment. We will be adding a Medical CTE program where students will move through and earn college credit and a CNA Nurses license. The old design had over 80 different doors and required students to walk outside between buildings, creating a security concern. Buildings will be connected with a secure vestibule entrance and the number of outside doors has been significantly reduced. Students will have a safe school where they can learn and thrive. Anytime you have a renovated or new school, there is a sense of pride that goes along with it knowing that your community believes in you enough to provide you with the best.
Timetable for construction:
- Bond Passes May 2020
- Hired Architect June 2020 - Soderstrom
- Hired Project Managers July 2020 - Cornerstone
- Hired Contractor November 2020 - Hoffman
- Design Phase January 2021 - April 2022
- Construction Phase I "Building A" March 2022 - August 2023
- Construction Phase II "Building B, C, D" August 2023 - August 2024
- Sports Fields Renovations August 2023 - August 2024
- Construction Completed Fall 2024
The St. Helens School District has teamed up with Soderstrom Architects, Cornerstone Project Management, and Hoffman Construction to renovate the entire High School. Some key aspects of the updates include:
- Connecting buildings A, B, and C
- Upgraded HVAC system
- 21st century science classrooms
- Improvements to Career Tech programs, including a medical professional pathway
- State of the art technology
- Larger band and choir classrooms
- Renovating and expanding sports fields
- Redesigned school layout for easier access to community use
Connecting buildings A, B, and C
The design of the school has slightly changed over the past few months, but the overall plan remains the same and true to community goals. The Soderstrom Architect group has spent countless hours meeting with teachers and other staff at the high school to design the best school possible that meets the needs of St. Helens students. A team of teachers even toured several newly renovated High Schools to help get ideas for the renovation. The hope is that the building will feel like a new school and not as if it has had multiple additions.
The planning, design, and permitting process takes anywhere from nine months to 18 months to complete, depending on the complexity of the project. Due to the fact that it is a renovation, extra time is required for the design to determine what is salvageable of the old buildings and assure new construction aligns with existing construction.
Connecting all three buildings addresses a major safety concern with the high school and allows students to move between classes without going outside. The only exception to that will be when students attend classes in Building “D” for Career Tech Education (CTE). The nature of the classes being taught and the large open bays required for woods, metal, and the auto shop do not lend themselves to connecting Building “D” with the main school building. Although students attending shop classes will need to walk outside between buildings, the district plans to improve the security of those routes.
Upgraded HVAC system
The antiquated HVAC system will be completely replaced. The need for a new system has only been highlighted by the recent smoke created by wildfires and the pandemic. Increased ventilation not only improves health and comfort but fresh air and oxygen also help students maintain focus and stamina throughout the day. Studies indicate that students in properly ventilated classrooms are less prone to getting tired in the afternoon.
21st-century science classrooms
The current science classrooms have not been updated since 1980 and there have been significant changes to science and technology over the past 40 years. Classrooms will be significantly larger with access to more equipment and space for labs and hands-on experiments.
Improvements to Career Tech programs, including a medical professional pathway
St. Helens High School has some of the best Career Tech Education (CTE) programs in the state and is nationally recognized as a top program. The shop classes are well designed but are in need of freshening with some minor changes to improve storage and instruction. One addition to our career tech program is for a Medical CTE pathway. A new classroom is being added for students interested in the medical career field. The program is being designed so students will receive college credit and a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) license on completion of the program.
State of the art technology
All classrooms will be equipped with the latest technology that allows flexibility as well expandability as new technology emerges. Upgraded WIFI with a larger bandwidth will allow for access to the internet and alleviate dead spots in the school.
Larger band and choir classrooms
The St. Helens band and choir program has enjoyed years of success. The new classrooms are being designed by acoustical engineers to optimize the classes for student musical performance. Increased storage and accessibility to the classrooms have also been a priority so students have an easier route to the auditorium free of stairs and other obstacles that are challenging to move large instruments past.
Renovating and expanding sports fields
Additional sports fields will be added to the high school to include a varsity and junior varsity softball field on campus as well as a varsity and junior varsity baseball field to address Title IX equity concerns. Our plan is to utilize the sale of some unused district property to add a turf baseball and softball field with a soccer pitch in their outfield. The addition of the fields will also be utilized by our city’s Park and Rec program, increasing community accessibility.
Redesigned school layout for easier access to community use
The new commons area has been shifted next to the gyms and auditorium. All three venues are utilized by the community on a regular basis and the move allows for greater flexibility in use while not interfering with academic classrooms. One new addition is a courtyard off the commons. The addition will allow students a safe place to eat outside and also serve as an amphitheater for performances.