Proposition S – New Francis Howell North High School

Posted on 05/04/2020
Students pass by caution tape and out of service sign in FHN hallway

Proposition S, the FHSD no tax rate increase bond issue, will be on the June 2 ballot. The largest single project funded by the passage of Proposition S would be a new Francis Howell North High School, at a cost of approximately $86 million dollars. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the District’s short-term operations, it has not changed the District’s critical long-term facility needs.

Dr. Hostettler stands under umbrella in FHN hallwayFrancis Howell North High School opened in 1981 as Henderson Middle School. In the decades that followed, there were six additional phases with no single master plan guiding the placement of additions. The result is a building structure that presents challenges for the appropriate supervision of students and creates potential student and staff safety issues.

FHN has a variety of roof structures and HVAC systems, serving all of those different areas. The ceiling leaks despite our best efforts to continually patch the different roof surfaces, and the building has mold problems that have been mitigated multiple times. Many other major systems, like HVAC, plumbing, and electrical, have reached the end of their useful life and are so old that it is now difficult to find spare parts when systems break down.

Some people have asked about renovating the current building. In commercial construction, the cost per square foot for renovating an existing structure is more expensive than the cost of new construction. The truth is, repairing the existing structure would cost more than $40 million and displace students for 3-4 years - and it‘s likely that the maintenance costs would still continue to increase. Issues like ceiling leaks due to adjoining roof structures would continue to pose problems. A new high school can be built on the southwest part of the current property while students still use the old school.

The plan is to build a new comprehensive high school that is comparable to the other high schools in the District. The new North would have flexible learning spaces that would help to create a collaborative learning environment. The new school would be a secure and student-friendly facility that will promote academic excellence and active engagement for every student and staff member.

FHN Master Plan    Old pipes at FHN

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