Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Union Collegiate Academy, Tulsa

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Union Collegiate Academy, Tulsa

Article excerpt

Every once in a while, a multifaceted opportunity comes along that improves everything.

About four years ago, Tulsa Union Public Schools district decided to enhance the facilities for its Collegiate Academy program, which prepares high school students for college by bringing collegiate courses to them.

At the same time, the district decided its sophomore class would advance better if housed with the juniors and seniors rather than ninth-graders. But since that would add another 1,000 students to an estimated 500,000-square-foot campus already booked with 2,000 budding adults, the high school required a sizeable expansion.

The campus would need to change its transportation strategies, establish a bus drop-off point and beef up its food services options, since sophomores initially cannot drive themselves. School officials also added new administrative offices to the project, hoping to improve how the principals and counselors interact with students.

So Union officials started working with the Oklahoma City-based architecture, engineering and surveying firm Crafton Tull on what became the three-story, 120,000-square-foot Union Collegiate Academy. The addition not only fulfilled those purposes, but gave the high school an iconic entryway.

"Certainly the building has changed the face of the campus," said Crafton Tull Vice President Britt Embry. "It was not an unattractive building to begin with, but it is in our opinion a very attractive building today."

The $26 million addition built by Flintco incorporated several administrative offices on the second and third floors while remodeling some existing spaces. It gave the high school a student union and multiple lounge areas, a college and career resource center, and a new cafe.

"It's not unusual to see someone with a guitar playing in one of the lounges," Embry said. "It's really energized the student base, to take advantage of the amenities in those rooms."

The Crafton Tull design incorporated a 300-seat flat lecture hall that can be subdivided, a pair of 60-seat tiered lecture halls and a number of classrooms. …

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