Plans for new student courtyard and green space gain traction

514 S. Perkins Road. Since the founding of White Station High School, this address has been the grounds on which thousands of students have ventured. As students come and go, however, the campus usually remains untouched for years.

In January 2014, administration members teamed up with the University of Memphis Architecture Department and its graduate students to develop a master plan to improve a campus in need of a makeover. Modernizing the school library, traffic flow, plumbing system, adding a new STEM building and upgraded athletic facilities are among the many renovations in the plan. Designs for a new student courtyard and green space appeared to be the more popular and realistic ideas currently being discussed.

“This master plan lays out all of the things we wanted to do at White Station,” Vice Principal and one of the major proponents of the plan Carrye Holland said. “[The architects] asked us about wants, needs, priorities, what’s working well with the school and what’s not.”

Set to be constructed in the area between the east annex and main building, the courtyard would serve as a gathering area and revamped walking space for students to use after school. It would include a student seating area, displays for student art, new landscaping, renovated walkways and a modernized gutter system that would trap rainfall as a water source for the green spaces in the courtyard.

“Personally, I wanted to see it as a performance space,” student involved with the plan Elizabeth Boyer (12) said. “I hope that this would provide a more engaging and interesting place for students to come in the future to enjoy.”

Funding for the courtyard has already begun with all money from private donors. White Station parent Richard Myers’ 2015 policy proposal to the Shelby County Board of Education has allowed private donors to give money in exchange for names or titles to be placed on parts of the school renovations.

“We would be interested in finding someone to potentially fund the entire pocket park,” Holland said. “People want to give money to things that are useful, cool and innovative.”

The courtyard is estimated to cost near $150,000. $40,000 has already been raised from the Memphis City Council with Shelby County Schools proposing a $15,000 grant for student handicap access in the courtyard. Although there is no current timeframe for construction on the project, administration hopes to execute the plans as soon as enough money is raised. Ultimately, the main goal of funding this project independently is to create an inexpensively maintainable space that many generations of White Station students can be proud of.

“For me, personally, this project is a source of school pride,” Holland said. “I thought it would be so cool to have this little place tucked away in the middle of our campus that nobody else knows about.”  


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