October 21, 2017

Webster Groves High School opens new $28 million building

COLLIN REISCHMAN / The Journal The classroom above is one of more than a dozen new science classrooms in the newly constructed north wing of Webster Groves High School.

The new Webster Groves High School multi-story addition opened for use at the beginning of the 2012 school year. The $28 million project was completed almost exactly one year and is “the most advanced building in the district,” according to Cathy Vespereny, community relations director for the Webster Groves school district.
“This is a 21st-century building,” Vespereny said. “We’ve got a solar panel, roof access to outdoor vegetable gardens and rain-collecting tiles, just to name a few things.”
The building features three floors and a basement holding a full industrial arts complex including car-elevators and typical classroom amenities.
Each department in the building — science, social studies, fine art and industrial arts — submitted requests and suggestions during the planning process. Art rooms face north “because the light is especially good from that direction,” Vespereny said, reciting the department suggestion.
The new music room is soundproofed; science labs open directly to the outdoor garden and green roof, and the new staircase is designed to reduce congestion at bell-ringing time.
The funding for the building came from a $36 million, no-tax increase bond, which was approved by district voters in 2010.
“It was worth every penny,” said Diane Moore, WGHS chief financial officer.
For Webster University, the new science floor of the building might be the most immediately beneficial. Webster has expressed plans to construct a new science building for its growing departmental needs if land is fully acquired from Eden Seminary.
Webster University has rented classroom space at WGHS sporadically when student demand exceeded on-campus space. The possibility of renting newly built science labs at the nearby high school while Eden and Webster continue to negotiate is not out of the question, according to Moore.
“I know that (Webster) is in desperate need of some space for science curriculum,” Moore said. “Obviously, we’ve got a friendly relationship with the university, so it’s not something to be ruled out at all.”

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