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920’s North Carolina High Schools Adapting to Twenty-first Century Needs. (2012)

Directed by Professor Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll. pp. 139


This thesis explored how historic school facilities can be altered to meet ever evolving educational needs without sacrificing their distinctive historic character. The schools analyzed in this study are North Carolina high schools built in the 1920s that still remain as schools. High schools from the 1920s represent buildings that were constructed in an educational boom period in the country and became icons for their surrounding community. Today as older schools continue to be closed and are replaced with more costly and resource demanding new construction, the importance of finding ways to continue to utilize and preserve these iconic buildings becomes more evident. The six historic high schools selected for this study serve as a model for the ongoing preservation and utilization of school buildings for evolving educational needs. For each of the six selected high schools, the methods of analysis included review of the National Register of Historic Places nominations, archival research, visual analysis of archival photographs and architectural plans, and site visits (documented with current photographs) to determine how alterations have been made to the interior of each school while still retaining historic character. The ways in which technology was implemented and how the campus was able to expand were also evaluated. The evaluation led to the identification of how high school buildings from this era remain as viable educational facilities. The study generated a variety of similarities and differences as to how each school addressed certain renovation issues. The findings therefore may serve to highlight examples for designers, school boards, and communities to utilize in hopes of preserving and continuing the utilization of historic schools instead of demolishing or adapting them for different uses.

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