Known for its Friday Night Lights, Texas is considered the capital of football–the number one state pastime. In contrast, is the small west Texas town of Brownfield, not known for football, but instead highly regarded for its elite basketball programs. The high school has produced many winning seasons and student athletes, including Sheryl Swoops, who played in the WNBA, won a championship with Texas Tech, and played for the Olympic Women’s Basketball Team.
Due to aging facilities, low academic state ratings, and lack of programs, the school district in Brownfield chose to invest in the future to better equip students for life after high school by updating their school with a state-of-the-art facility and new programs. The building design, the school programs, and all its amenities were designed to enhance student learning to better equip students for future success .
Part of a $40 million bond package approved by voters in 2019, the new high school was completed in July, 2022. The new state-of-the-art facility serves approximately 400 students in grades 9-12, replacing the original 1960s-era facility which has been repurposed as the middle school.
The new facility and programs offer opportunities to create not only flexible and future-ready learning spaces, but to also address the growing need and desire to enhance Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities. These opportunities include advanced welding with virtual reality simulators, an automotive shop that rivals any major car dealer, construction labs large enough to learn in a safe and controlled environment, a hands-on cosmetology suite, a pharmacy program to certify the next pharmacy technicians, an EMT lab, medical lab, wood shop, fine arts collaboration, two flexible research labs and a competition class basketball arena. The new facility was designed to allow future growth and flexibility, enhanced learning opportunities, and the ability to respond to changing needs of the community.
At the heart of the facility is a research lab for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) that involves hands-on learning for things like robotics, drones, and much more. The space was designed to support one of the goals of a STEM program, which is to provide student interaction for shared learning in an environment that doesn’t feel like school but rather a place that’s fun to hang out and learn by virtue of authentic projects.
The building shell was designed with industrial aesthetics of a state-of-the-art, world class facility, so students feel like they’re in a sophisticated professional environment and can taste the possibilities of life after high school. To ensure the safety of students, teachers, and guests within the facility, security was also a key element of consideration. The building is equipped with security vestibules, bullet resistant film on the windows and lockdown features in every classroom, but these features do not hinder the feeling of community throughout the school. The interior was designed with a neighborhood feel that incorporates all the amenities students’ future careers might have. The overall design theme matches one of the school’s mottos of “Big-time programs with a small-town feel.”