Monday, June 12, 2006

Arcadia High bids farewell to its Circle

[Source: Melissa Navas, Arizona Republic] -- At Arcadia High School, it's hip to be That's what students, teachers and staff say about their beloved Circle, an iconic building. This week construction crews are taking over the school and are working to raze the Circle at the end of the month. It will be rebuilt as part of a $45.7 million renovation of the 46-year old school. The Circle is doughnutlike with a two-story classroom structure enclosing a circular library. Ramps and stairs zigzag throughout the complex. Circle buildings were popular in post-World War II architecture, especially in the Valley, said project architect Brad Gildea. However, very few, if any schools aside from Arcadia featured the futuristic circular buildings, and Arcadia became known as the school with the spaceship. Perhaps what has made the building's design so special is its ability to create a welcoming and comforting atmosphere, said Principal Anne-Marie Woolsey. "They say you're never alone in the Circle," Woolsey said.

Last week, during the final days of school, people said goodbye to the Circle in their own ways. Minutes before Ben Ren's biology final, the freshman walked around both the inside and perimeter of the building to capture images with his digital camera. Since he has a 96 percent in the class, the photos were more of a priority than the test, he said. He passed by students who were playing hacky sack, listening to portable music players and others chatting with friends. Ren, who is originally from Guangzhou, China, said he had never seen anything like the building in his former country. "It's kind of special. I've had a good time with this building because me and my friends meet here every day at lunch," said the 16-year-old Ren.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Suzanne Starr, Arizona Republic]