Inside the new JR Tucker High School, slated to open in fall 2021

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The new JR Tucker High School in Henrico County is months away from opening in fall 2021, with key interior elements starting to come together.

8News visited the site of the new building on Monday, some of which were built on the footprint of the original decades-old building. For example, the old football field will be transformed into an outdoor amphitheater and classrooms.

“Almost everything is different, except for the enthusiasm and expertise of our teachers,” said Marcie Shea, Henrico County School Board vice president and Tuckahoe District representative. “We can still count on the arrival of our wonderful staff from Tucker to the new building. But we are in the process of moving from an open style campus to a closed building that offers much more security for our students.

Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell said that while the exterior nature of the current JR Tucker High School is changing, it is not completely disappearing.

“An outdoor campus, which they currently have in the old building, offers a lot of green space and sunlight, and therefore it also offers a lot of challenges with weather and safety issues,” Cashwell said. “If you are planning to move to a new building and a new campus, what you will see in this design is that there is a lot of natural light, an opportunity to go outside and inside. seamlessly with outdoor courses and learning spaces. ”

According to Andy Jenks, spokesperson for Henrico County Public Schools, the bid for the new JR Tucker High School came in at just under $ 93 million.

“It was really built with innovative instruction in mind,” Shea said. “It’s not just about the building. It’s about rethinking the way we deliver education, rethinking the way we do high school.

The new building includes several flexible spaces and common areas, which include large whiteboards and movable partitions to divide or unite classrooms.

“We have a lot of flexible spaces in this building, which not only offers new teaching opportunities, but also community development opportunities for our students, which we know are so crucial for social well-being. emotional of our students and our school as a whole, ”Shea said.

When complete, the two-story high school will house an auditorium with additional seating in the back that can be used for separate conference rooms or to increase the capacity of a main event, color-coded wings to help the school community to navigate the building, new culinary arts installations and exterior murals to brighten up the yard.

“I think our staff and our students are going to enter an incredible space for teaching and learning,” Cashwell said. “It’s going to re-energize everyone for the start of a new school year, after what has been an unexpected year of obstacles.”

The new JR Tucker High School will feature an outdoor amphitheater. (Photo: Olivia Jaquith)

The new JR Tucker High School is expected to welcome students on the first day of the 2021-2022 academic year.

“My favorite part was hearing the unique things that matter to the community, the teachers, the students, and being able to see those elements come to life here as the structure grows and is almost complete,” Cashwell said. “It’s incredible.”

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