Whale Branch Early College High School, Beaufort County School District

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In 2017, Beaufort County School District commissioned McMillan Pazdan Smith to design athletic and performing arts additions to their existing campus. The new additions were designed with the goal of enabling Whale Branch to match all offerings at other local high schools. Since the project was performed onsite while school was in session, our team worked with school officials to properly stage the work zones, redirect traffic, and ensure that students had safe egress points.

The existing campus offered an auxiliary gym, weight room, and training room; however, all facilities were smaller than necessary for a school of their size. The new weight room is designed with student safety in mind, accounting for equipment size and clear area. The training room is now large enough for the existing student capacity as well as visiting teams and includes dedicated spaces for ice baths and stretching. Our design team was able to take advantage of the existing, large locker rooms and office spaces by building the addition off the back wall. The biggest advantage of the new 27,000 SF addition is the 1,500-seat competition gym that allows the school to host athletic events onsite.

The school hopes to increase interest for existing students and further motivate incoming freshman to pursue the fine arts with a new 26,500 SF performing arts center. This addition includes a 500-seat theater complete with backstage areas for shop, scenery, costume storage, and dressing rooms. The center also includes dedicated spaces for band / orchestra and choir. Our team also added a new entry plaza between the athletic and performing arts buildings designed to welcome patrons attending shows or athletic events, and the lobby serves as a gallery for students to display artwork.

The project completed in May 2019.