Fort Worth: Amon Carter-Riverside High Project Faces Historic Landmark Review
Feature Illustration (above): The 1936 Administration Building (far right) with dotted orange lines where the alteration is planned; it will provide access to a proposed student plaza and the new additions–Fine Arts and Science Buildings. Courtesy: Glenn|Partners.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Fort Worth (Tarrant County) — The construction schedule for the Amon Carter-Riverside High School expansion project faces some uncertainty after getting its review this week from the Historic Preservation & Landmarks Commission.
Lead architect Patrick Glenn of Glenn|Partners represented the Fort Worth Independent School District at the Monday meeting. He noted that he had just received the city staff’s 52 page report that morning and had little time to prepare a response.
Site plans courtesy of Glenn|Partners. All areas in pink (below) are marked for demolition
Staff attached a long list of conditions to Glenn’s application for demolition of certain historically significant and non-significant structures. Among those that Glenn said caused him concern was the requirement for an assessment by a preservation professional, and staff’s opposition to alterations to the Administration Building that was constructed in 1936.
Glenn insisted it was important to take down the structures planned for demolition this summer.
“Any long delay in that historic review process would have an adverse effect,” Glenn said, explaining that delays would lead to escalations in the budget that could prevent the development team from doing other things.
The city staff representative could not answer the commission’s question on how long the preservation professional might take to provide the assessment.
Perspective of the student plaza with new construction from right to center (and far right), and the 1936 Administration Building in the distance right of center. Courtesy: Glenn|Partners.
On the issue of the Administration Building alterations, staff opposed the proposal to create a corridor at the center of the building that would lead to the north side, where Glenn|Partners intends to create a student plaza that would create connectivity between the original building and the proposed additions.
Staff’s argument was that the new corridor through the center of the building required the removal of a staircase. In addition, the architect proposes a realignment of the windows that look out from the stairwell.
Glenn said the center entrance only appears to be the main entrance, but in fact the building entrance has been to the far right of the front façade. The purpose of the renovation to this element is to actually make the center entrance a functional corridor that provides access into and through the building to the future plaza.
The scope of work as described by staff to the commission includes removal of portable buildings to be replaced with permanent buildings; the relocation of the baseball field and a student parking lot; the elimination of a play field, and demolition of certain structures that were built in 1936, 1954 and 1957.
Aerial view of the existing campus (above), and of the proposed campus (below). Courtesy: Glenn|Partners.
Chillers currently located where the student plaza will go are to be relocated to the west side of the Administration Building and screened from view. Restoration work is planned for the Administration Building, mainly to the windows.
The commission’s passage of the Certificate of Approval for demolition work included the following staff stipulations:
Obtain an assessment from a preservation professional on the historical significance of the Wyatt C. Hedrick and Burnett & Wharton designs (the structures marked for demolition) and provide this to the Planning & Development Department prior to issuance of the COA.
Depending on the findings of the assessment, the school district should consider alternatives to demolition.
A Temporary Protection Plan be drafted by Glenn|Partners and submitted to staff prior to issuance of the Building Permit. The purpose of the TPP is to avoid inadvertent damage to the Administration Building.
Glenn|Partners must work with city staff on the design of a mutually agreeable alteration with regard to the proposed corridor through the Administration Building.
New doors and windows for the Administration Building shall not replicate historic doors and windows, but be of compatible design.
Any work on existing masonry be specified in terms of materials and methods to be consistent with preservation standards.
Any adjustments to the designs submitted July 3 shall be submitted to Planning & Development prior to issuance of the COA.
Elevations of the new building (above) and the north side of the Administration Building (below). Courtesy: Glenn|Partners.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.