Plans for a new high school in Hoke County are well underway, with architectural firm SfL+a Architects revealing a first look at what the school may look like when construction is complete.
On Nov. 2, the firm posted photos of architectural renderings on its Facebook page, with the message: “We are delighted to announce the forthcoming construction of a state-of-the-art Hoke County High School, designed to cultivate an innovative and student-centered learning environment. This impressive new facility will cover an expansive 139,000 square feet and will prioritize adaptability to accommodate ever-evolving technology and curriculum advancements. The building will feature cutting-edge amenities, including dedicated spaces for science and engineering labs and a maker space room.”
The color scheme utilizes the school’s colors of red and white, and features “a sleek exterior, incorporating elements such as brick, metal wall panels, storefronts, and curtain walls, creating a modern and welcoming structure.” The photos on the Facebook post show a modern-looking exterior, an open floorplan with lots of natural light pouring in through large windows, an open media center, and a state-of-the-art gym for the Fighting Bucks that will seat 1,700.
The original Hoke County High School was built in 1960, and has quickly outgrown its current structure. “Hoke County High School currently has a membership of 1,988 students, which is 397 students over its current building capacity as noted in the 2020-2021 NCDPI Facility Needs Survey (NCDPIFNS); this was in 2021-2022,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Information Systems Dr. Chad Hunt. “Currently, there are 2,115 students enrolled, which is approximately 524 students over its current building capacity, as noted in the 2020-2021 NCDPI Facility Needs Survey.”
The new high school is designed to help alleviate those overcrowding concerns with more square footage and the replacement of dilapidated buildings and modular classrooms. This will not only help improve crowding issues but will also boost safety and security, as well as energy efficiency. “[It will] ensure a solid technological infrastructure for learning and effective communication,” Dr. Hunt said.
“A new building will improve security by consolidating several existing buildings into one new building,” he added. “This facility will also house a food service/kitchen/cafeteria, media space, gymnasium, collaborative spaces, classrooms, and office spaces.”
The new high school project began in the spring of 2022, which includes writing and submitting the grant application, Dr. Hunt said. “At the time of selecting the architecture firm and construction firm, the estimated completion date was scheduled for August 2025,” he continued. “We are currently in phase 1 of the project.”
The budget for the new Hoke County High School is $78 million. According to Dr. Grant, $50 million of that was awarded to Hoke County Schools through the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund grant and the Hoke County Commissioners are providing the remainder $28 million.
SfL+a Architects has recently completed other schools in Horry County, S.C., and Jones County in North Carolina. The firm has designed numerous elementary schools like Claxton Elementary in Guilford County, Southern Pines Elementary School, and high schools like Union High and Clinton High in Sampson County. According to the firm’s website, SfL+a specializes in “delivering extremely energy efficient buildings, including energy positive ones,” and creates “engaging environments positively impact people, communities and the environment.”