Regents School of Austin prepares to open new high school

Work on Regents School of Austin's new high school is proceeding ahead of schedule, and staff may be able to use the building as early as Aug. 5, Head of School Rod Gilbert said.

The 70,000-square-foot building includes four science laboratories, two lab preparatory rooms and a laser optics lab. It will serve a maximum of 320 students in grades 9–12, Gilbert said.

The $12.2 million building is part of an $18.2 million campaign that includes a proposed athletics field on the west side of Travis Country Circle, he said. The project is mostly funded through private donations. Gilbert said officials were grateful to the school community for its support of the project.

"Students need to be inspired by beauty and, simply put, we needed the classrooms," Gilbert said about the school's reasons for expansion. During the past school year, Regents used 16 portable classrooms to accommodate students.

Regents is a K–12 private Christian school that emphasizes a classical framework of grammar, logic and rhetoric, according to its website.

Features of the new School of Rhetoric reflect the school's values, the head of school said.

A quote in Latin from Roman rhetorician Quintilian—"the good man speaking well"—is carved into a stone above the main entrance. Couches and gathering places will be scattered throughout the building to foster a sense of community.

A few classrooms feature Harkness tables, oval-shaped tables meant to encourage discussion and listening, according to the Regents website.

The building also includes fine arts, band and choir rooms, as well as a library with a view of the Austin skyline.

The school broke ground in July 2012. In late June, workers tackled landscaping and finishing touches to the classrooms. Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 3.