One of Pasco County’s oldest high schools is set to undergo a major makeover.
Across the next two-plus years, Zephyrhills High School will see a number of upgrades to not only give the school a modern aesthetic, but also to enhance campus safety and the overall learning environment.
The total price tag: $33 million, funded through Penny for Pasco.
Details about the renovation project were shared by Pasco school district officials and contractors during a May 22 parent meeting.
The project is being completed by Tampa-based Peter Hepner Architects and Clearwater-based Creative Contractors.
An initial phase is set to be complete this summer — a new two-story, 17-classroom building, bringing the school’s capacity to accommodate about 1,950 students.
Other phases of the project will address the school’s existing main campus.
Among the highlights are state-of the-art classrooms and laboratories for the school’s career technical education programs.
For instance, the school’s criminal justice program will feature a 911 communications center, while a health occupations classroom will resemble a hospital setting, equipped with multiple beds, sinks and curtains. The school’s science, agriculture and building construction technology programs will see an enlarged space for better hands-on learning, as well.
Meantime, the media center will be remodeled with flat-screen technology, small group conference rooms and circulation desks, made to resemble “a university-type collaborative space,” architect Peter Hepner said.
Other notable additions include an expanded cafeteria and additional restrooms, plus upgrades to the commons area, teacher’s lounge and administration suites.
Buildings will be overhauled with a new air conditioning system, fire sprinkler system and energy-efficient LED lighting, along with new glass windows and tile flooring planned throughout.
The school’s exterior will experience a facelift, too.
The main entry will be incorporated with more brick elements and a larger canopy to allow for more covered area during drop-offs and pickups in inclement weather. And, a courtyard and a gated perimeter with ornamental fencing will be installed.
Elsewhere, as an effort to enhance safety measures, some entrances to the school will be eliminated and become emergency exits only. Classroom doors will be altered with more secure locks, to prevent break-ins. Also, school visitors will be required to enter a new enclosed reception area to get checked in, before gaining access to the commons area.
The entire renovation project is expected to be complete by December 2021. Work will have to take place during school hours, but Hepner said disruption will be minimal with fences and visual and acoustic barriers, separating construction zones from daily school activity.
“There’s a lot that’s going to go into this project,” said Hepner, who’s firm is also working on the $29 million renovation at Land O’ Lakes High School. “It takes a little while to do it, but as each phase gets done, it just gets more and more exciting.”
Zephyrhills principal Angie Stone said the upgrades “bring this 1970s building back to life.”
“We just can’t wait,” Stone said, of the renovations. “The teachers are excited, we’re excited.”
Pasco Schools superintendent Kurt Browning also expressed his enthusiasm for the forthcoming enhancements.
“We’re just thrilled to be able to get this project going,” he said. “This school district is really committed to Zephyrhills High School and this community. We want the very best for our students, our teachers, our administrators and the Zephyrhills community.”
Published May 29, 2019