Largo High School is all set to be demolished this Friday, meaning students will now be educated in highly-concentrated shark tanks. Gradebook kids, of course. The architects building the new Largo High unveiled their plans this week at the school board workshop.
"It has a collegiate feel," said Jeffrey Cobble, president of Harvard Jolly, a St. Petersburg-based firm.
Drivers will enter the new Largo High at a traffic light on Missouri Avenue. The front entrance to the school will be more visible to a new visitor than in the past, Cobble said.
The new Largo High will unfold at a diagonal to the streets surrounding it (see photos), with a walkway leading into a secure student courtyard flanked by two-story classroom buildings. Rounding out the courtyard is the gym, media center and cafeteria, forming a "student union," in Cobble's words.
The student union and the courtyard provide dedicated space for students, although they can be observed through windows and glass elements of the building, which also appears to be concrete with a brick veneer.
"The idea behind this is a passive observation, so the kids can be outside feeling like they're doing their own thing, but can be watched at the same time," said Cobble, adding that "everything will be visible from the administration building."
The theater and its parking lot will stay in the same spot. Cobble said it was in good shape and new building codes would have forced them to build a smaller theater. A small building by the football field will also remain.
School board member Robin Wikle asked what would become of the football field, which has been prone to flooding. "Having had sons who played football there, it's up to your knees in water on a day that (it's rained)," she said.
Cobble said the elevation of the field would not change but that his firm planned to "improve the situation with water management."
"It does make me feel like (it's) a junior college environment," school board member Rene Flowers said. "That's what I'm feeling when I look up there, and we're trying to get kids ready for that environment, so it does address that and give it that flavor."