Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
alert featured

Watch now: Go inside Decatur's new Johns Hill Magnet School

  • 0

Take a tour of the new Johns Hill Magnet School, where crews have been working for months. 

DECATUR – As beloved as Johns Hill Magnet School is to students, staff and alums, they will getting an upgrade in August when a new building is open.

“Kids will be running into each other because they'll be walking around like this,” said Superintendent Paul Fregeau, miming kids walking through the halls gazing up. “They won't be looking at their phones.”

Decatur Public Schools, BLDD Architects and O'Shea Builders conducted a tour of the as-yet-unfinished building on Tuesday for media.

“It's amazing,” said Principal Rob Prange. “It's going to mean so many more opportunities for our students of the arts and just the upgrade in our facilities. I think about so many things that we do: our art program, and music, and having air conditioning and always having to worry (before) about our pianos and tuning and having temperature-controlled and humidity controlled areas for the pianos, and having water for our art classes, and adding the black box theater and the dance studio and having all these opportunities. It's just exciting."

johns hill tour 11 060821.JPG

Local media tour a new science room at the Johns Hill Magnet School building on Tuesday. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

Some of the new features for the arts include an art studio, filled with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows, with a kiln for pottery, a fume hood that they'll share with the science lab, and ample space all over the school for the display of visual art projects. Lead architect Todd Cyrulik pointed out the rails built into the walls throughout the building. Hooks can attach to those rails and make the display of students' art easy.

The new sign will hold a piece of the old school, too, Prange said. The cornerstone that reads "Johns Hill, 1928" has been incorporated into the base for the electronic marquee sign as a reminder of its history. 

johns hill tour 1 060821A.JPG

Local media tour the Johns Hill Magnet School building on Tuesday. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

“We wanted to let the students' art live and not our art,” he said. “We just gave them the space.”

The three-story lobby of the school will allow for hanging large projects and the display of sculpture and pottery that wasn't possible before.

The school will also include a dance studio that can also be used for yoga, alternative physical education and as a “black box” for rehearsals and performances that need a more intimate setting than the auditorium.

johns hill tour 2 060821A.JPG

Superintendent Paul Fregeau checks out the view during a media tour on Tuesday at Johns Hill Magnet School. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

The auditorium is state-of-the-art, with space for 683 seats including the balcony, and safe catwalks easily accessible so students can learn how to handle all facets of a performance from lights to sound to stage dressing as well as have a large enough stage for any kind of performance, play or musical event they want to have. Both the band and choir rooms have direct access to the stage, and there's a backstage area where performers can duck from one side of the stage to the other, or wait for a cue, out of sight. There's also a room devoted to musical instrument and costume storage that leads directly to locker rooms for costume changes.

johns hill tour 3 060821A.JPG

An old boiler building is torn down during a tour for the Johns Hill Magnet School building on Tuesday. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

One design feature is subtle but powerful, Prange said. The first floor is primary colors, mainly red, white and blue, which are the school colors. The second floor is secondary colors and the third, tertiary colors. The idea is to emphasize the school's fine arts theme with the color palette.

Due to the building's situation on the hill that gives the campus its name, there are two entries, one on the first floor and one on the second floor, that will lead out to a parking lot. The idea there, Cyrulik said, is that the second-floor entry will provide easy access to sporting events with a wide lobby area. That area will also house the offices for social services for students such as health and social workers.

johns hill tour 4 060821A.JPG

Principal Rob Prange checks out the auditorium during a media tour on Tuesday at Johns Hill Magnet School. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

Prange hopes to hold an open house and orientation prior to the first day of school in August to let parents and students tour the building.

“We'll have families that are new (to the school) and everyone will be new to this building,” he said.

johns hill tour 5 060821A.JPG

Principal Rob Prange checks out the auditorium during a media tour on Tuesday at Johns Hill Magnet School. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

And while students in upper grades who have attended Johns Hill for several years will miss the old building, Prange said, he thinks the new building and all its features will make up for that.

One thing Cyrulik was particularly pleased about is the large gym. The gym at the old Johns Hill wasn't regulation size and hampered the students' ability to play sports and have physical education class, while the new one is so big that it can be divided into two gyms, to allow both younger and older kids to use it at the same time.

“I think they're going to be amazed at how modern (the school) looks,” Prange said. “And when they get up to see the view in the art room and other places, I think that's going to be something exciting to them.”

johns hill tour 6 060821A.JPG

Superintendent Paul Fregeau and Principal Rob Prange checks out the gym during a media tour on Tuesday at Johns Hill Magnet School. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

johns hill tour 7 060821A.JPG

Media members check out the gym during a media tour on Tuesday at Johns Hill Magnet School. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

johns hill tour 8 060821A.JPG

Local media tour the Johns Hill Magnet School building on Tuesday. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

johns hill tour 9 060821A.JPG

Local media tour the Johns Hill Magnet School building on Tuesday. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

johns hill tour 10 060821A.JPG

Local media tour the Johns Hill Magnet School building on Tuesday. Visit www.herald-review.com to see more photos and a video from the event.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

0 Comments
0
0
0
0
0

Want to see more like this?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News