Phillis Wheatley Middle School

Recognition / Awards / Publication: 2004 TASB/TASA School Architecture Criteria Award for: Design, Innovation, and Process of Planning

The new Wheatley Middle School was designed to be a completely new state-of-the-art facility for 800 students while maintaining its cultural significance in the community. Built in 1932 as the original African-American high school, Wheatley was designated a Historic Landmark by the City of San Antonio in 1986. The 1997 San Antonio Independent School District Bond Program called for Wheatley to be replaced by a new facility for 800 students. The original 1932 building had been added onto more than seven times over a forty year period and the resulting campus had become inefficient with obsolete facilities and infrastructure.

Our concept called for the majority of the piecemeal additions to be torn down to the reveal the historic building. Once the site was cleared a 75,000 sq. ft. addition was configured to create a large private courtyard as the new focal point for the school.  The new school’s amenities include a restored auditorium, a 5,000 sq. ft. library, two gyms and dressing areas, new band and choir facilities, new cafeteria and kitchen, special education facilities, six science labs and thirty-six classrooms. The underlying theme of the  design was to create a facility that looked and felt like it was completely new and fresh, while respecting the original historic architecture.