Ray Braswell High School Sets a New Standard as an Anchor of the Community

Little Elm, TX ' VLK Architects proudly announces the opening of Denton ISD's new Dr. Ray Braswell High School, the district's first high school built outside of the city of Denton, along U.S. 380 - one of the fastest growing areas in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Braswell welcomed its inaugural class of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors on Monday, August 22. Area students have been deeply invested in the two years of construction of Braswell taking part in everything from the actual groundbreaking to deciding the mascot and the school colors. Even junior level students in advanced engineering and architecture classes at the district's LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex have 'shadowed' contractors through the process of building the new innovative campus for the Braswell Bengals.

'It is an amazing opportunity to be a part of a brand new school and be here the first year it's open,' said Celeste Kalmbach, freshman. 'I think that is what a new school brings; it brings a lot of opportunities for everybody. Bringing the whole community together, we are like one big family and this school is going to be what the 380 Corridor, or as we now call it the Braswell Zone, is known for.'

Inspired by the four C's of learning: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, VLK Architects designed Braswell to accommodate and engage different learning styles. The building is broken down into small communities or houses, and each contains its own collaborative learning areas, glass huddle rooms, writeable wall surfaces and digital displays.

Ordinary spaces, even hallways, contain flexible learning spaces with direct access to 'educational courtyards' which are designed with collaboration at their core. In addition to several other contemporary design features, Braswell High has a robust wireless network driving students and teachers to have all their information at their fingertips.

'The flexibility of spaces in the school is what I find to be the biggest differentiator between this campus and other high schools in the district. There are learning spaces within the classroom wings for any size group, allowing students to work together on projects outside of the classroom,' said Justin Hiles, VLK Project Director.

Braswell High School's Bill Carrico Athletic Complex, named for longtime Denton High School teacher and coach who was also an All-American at The University of North Texas, was built with multi-function and use in mind. The athletic complex includes junior varsity football and varsity baseball, softball, tennis, track and soccer, with multiple outbuildings providing individual locker room and dressing facilities for every sport.

'The positioning of the academic areas in the building really captures the use of natural light, and I already have plans of how to incorporate every physical inch of this classroom and the adjacent lab within my focus on biology, natural science and physics,' said Yatishe Milner, science department chair at Braswell.

The school opened with an initial 1,212 students but will soon fill due to rapid growth and development in the area. Core facilities are designed to serve 2,700 students however additions to the academics, career and technology and athletics areas are planned and expected.

'Braswell High School will be an anchor for this portion of the Denton ISD community,' said Leesa Vardeman, VLK Architects principal. 'This high school is poised to do more than just serve a community; it will create culture of excellence that ties the Braswell zone neighborhoods, families, students and local businesses together through education. It is a great win for everyone.'

Denton ISD Superintendent Jamie Wilson said, 'Braswell High School sets the new standard forcollaborative learning and critical thinking. Denton ISD students will be far-and-away much better prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce due to the hard work of our teachers and staff facilitated by this amazing campus.'