Tates Creek High School Opens with ‘A New Way Forward’
Fourteen-year-old Alex Ott is growing up on the Tates Creek campus – having started kindergarten at the elementary, completed middle school across the way, and now as a ninth grader walked through the doors of the newly constructed high school. “It’s really big and I feel lost, but it’s nice that I know some people. The first week is figuring things out and meeting your teachers,” she said on Day 1 of the 2022-23 school year.
Having toured the building at freshman orientation, Alex had already pegged two favorite spots, noting, “The cafeteria and library stick out the most.” Both are impressive, as is the entire building – a state-of-the art facility and now the largest school in our district at 358,018 square feet.
“We are very excited about our new building and that our kids have the facility they deserve," said Principal Marty Mills. "Our school community is extremely grateful for our current and past board members’ support, as well as the support from our current superintendent, Demetrus Liggins, and our previous superintendent, the late Manny Caulk.”
Instead of renovating the original Tates Creek High School, district leaders decided to build back new. Students finished classes a tad early in May, demolition began in June, and the new school was ready for classes on Aug. 10 after two years of construction, though hard-hat work continues in the parking lots.
Sunlight pours in through expansive windows, and multiple commons areas with comfortable seating will enable students to gather and work together informally. Among other highlights are separate spaces for the specialty areas, starting with the Freshman Academy on the third floor. Each academy also houses its administrative leaders, a guidance office, and a small conference room for students’ convenience. The Academy of Medical & Emergency Services is on the second floor, along with the library media center. Wings for the academies of Fine Arts, Design & Engineering, and International Baccalaureate & Informational Technology anchor the first floor, along with the main gym and the cafeteria. In the basement is the Academy of Business, Entrepreneurship, & Education. TCHS also got new baseball and softball fields as part of the campus overhaul.
Staff and teachers took a first look inside a couple of weeks ago. “It’s amazing. We literally walked around like ‘Wow! Wow. Wow!’” said freshman science teacher Brittany Crawford, who had one of the smaller classrooms in the old building. Now she will enjoy double the space, with lab storage cabinets stretching for days, shiny new sinks and faucets, and plenty of room for the physics equipment.
“When I walked in, I was kind of overwhelmed,” said Crawford, who has taught at TCHS for 21 years. “To me, it’s like a new beginning.”
Did you know? The FCPS motto for 2022-23 is “A New Way Forward.”
Posted Aug. 10, 2022