Homewood City Schools in Homewood, Alabama was faced with a problem common to public school districts: aging buildings and a growing student population. It had the benefit of a $55 million bond issue organized through a joint deal with the City of Homewood but didn’t know what it needed or even how to determine what it needed. Starting with studies, surveys and assessments and working from the best available data, HPM identified a bubble moving through the school population and planned accordingly. Three aging elementary schools will receive classroom additions, renovations, and upgrades, leaving room for growth as necessary. The middle school, which is just beginning to feel the effects of the bubble, is a fairly new building that would benefit from space planning and interior renovations to add classrooms. The 70s-era high school will need the most help, getting more than a dozen new classrooms, updated athletics, and fine arts wings, and interior renovations to modernize the overall facility.
Data-Driven Planning to Create a Community’s Dream School
Built in 1972, Homewood High School is expected to hit two milestones at the same time: its 50th birthday, and its full capacity of 1,200. News of the bond issue, a hastily assembled land-use study, and the hopes and dreams of many community members quickly spun into grand plans for a new high school. When HPM first met with the superintendent, we outlined our extensive process that starts long before plans are made. Our preconstruction team started with a demographic study to assess the community’s needs and a facilities assessment of each school to see what we would be working with. Working with comprehensive information, HPM’s team determined that the construction of a new high school exceeded the district’s needs and far outstripped its budget. Instead, we were able to draw up a plan for renovations, expansions, and updates to all five schools in the district to anticipate population growth, provide newer and more functional facilities and address the top priorities laid out in community meetings and surveys—while staying within the available budget.