The Lowell High School facilities are comprised of multiple buildings located on a few city blocks crossing a canal in the Downtown neighborhood. The original 1892 building was added to in 1922 and renovated in 1971 and 1997 (minor), and included a large interior light well at the intersection of the two brick buildings. The 1980 facility is made up of an educational wing and a field house wing connected by lobby spaces and circulation, and was renovated in 1997. These two buildings, the 1892/1922 and the 1980, are connected by two enclosed, glazed bridges which span across the canal and park below. The Freshman Academy, a completely separate structure, is one city block away. Built in 1900 and added on in 1939, it was renovated in 1986. Ninth grade students typically walk along a less dense urban street to access specialty classrooms and the physical education spaces in the main buildings. The Freshman Academy structure also houses their own cafeteria and theater. The Steam Plant, original construction unknown, but renovated in 1996, which serves the entire complex, is located between the Freshman Academy and the 1920 facility, and is connected to the Freshman Academy above ground by overhead pipes and to the 1920 Building with a utilities tunnel under Kirk Street.
With the current overcrowding conditions -- which has intensified the problematic issues with the existing conditions of the buildings related to maintenance, building systems and other larger capital projects -- and the magnitude of the future enrollment projections, and the changing methodologies and space needs necessary to meet 21st century teaching and learning standards, there is a significant shortfall in appropriate space in the high school for meeting the Education Program. Coupled with this is the desire to bring special needs students and their associated programs, back into this school for a better educational environment for the students and teachers. Currently, many special needs students are displaced for partial semesters to one of the alternative or day schools in the city, and are brought back into the mainstream at different intervals throughout the year. This disrupts the educational experience for all the students and contributes to additional and sometimes unplanned overcrowding in classrooms throughout the school year. Additions to this school should include much needed special needs spaces and programs. The district desires to have 21st century-style, flexible spaces for the development of critical thinking, creative problem solving, independent learning, and student and teacher collaboration at the high school. This facility is obsolete and not conducive to 21st century teaching and learning methodologies.