VIDE Presents Request for the Demolition and Reconstruction of STX Central High School

The current state of St. Croix Central High School. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

In a public hearing on Wednesday evening for the V.I. Coastal Zone Management Committee, the V.I. Education Department presented the federally funded document CZM0028-23 for the demolition and new construction of the St. Croix Central High School. 

Representing the Education Department’s new schools’ architect, Chaneel Callwood assisted in presenting the model for the new St. Croix Central High School, which is set to accommodate 1,200 students.

Callwood said that a construction fence will be erected, allowing the contractor to demolish the gym and clear everything to take care of the construction. “We are going to knock down the existing gym which was damaged and is closed and that is where we are going to build the buildings for the new campus. We will then move the students into the new buildings and demolish the old campus to construct the playing fields,” said Callwood.

The new design will include a football field, more parking, and new entrances to the campus. Later, a request will eventually be made for an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The new school will also have a gymnasium, learning suites, a theater, and dedicated music, visual arts, and dance suites. A new design for the JROTC building was created, and the designs were worked on in collaboration with campus participants.

Also, at the meeting, Pamela Loeffelman represented the architectural firm DLR Group for the overall architecture design.  

She said the design focused on the performing arts, with a performing arts theater, fully air-conditioned, and a FEMA shelter. Loeffelman also said, “For Central the building systems are designed to hook onto WAPA but have redundancy certainly for the FEMA shelter and certainly in terms of the storage for the cistern in order to provide fire suppression. We did not want to rely wholly on WAPA and if you will, their provision of power and water. There are additional conversations in looking for alternate funding to see if the entire high school can be solar powered.”

During the question-and-answer portion, CZM Director Marlon Hibberd asked about the stormwater drainage and if there were any plans to handle the stormwater. 

“We plan to place the buildings so that they are a little higher so that water will drain positively away from the site and towards the driveways and parking lots,” Callwood said. She also said that she would find out more specifics on this plan.  

Another question board member Kai Nielsen presented was, “Spatially, the fine arts building dominates the campus. Why the need to have this as the biggest building when the trajectory of the territory is heading to agribusiness as number one?” Nielsen said it spoke nothing to that vision and later read the Vision 2040 goals. 

“Our high schools are meant to be direct pipelines into those post-secondary programs, into our universities,” Nielsen said. He also highlighted agribusiness, coastal and ocean resources, health sciences, light manufacturing, professional and tech services, renewable energy, research and development, and V.I. style tourism as the main fields of focus under the governor’s plan.

Later, Callwood said that the remodel plans for the high school contain 475 sheets of drawings. To see the complete design booklet for the remodel of the St. Croix Central High School, click here.

The CZM Decision meeting will be scheduled in the next 30 days.