Roaring applause and cheers of joy echoed throughout the Parker Elementary School cafeteria on Monday as Principal Lori Frodine welcomed students to the first day of school in their new building.
To mark the first day, students gathered by grade level for assemblies in the cafeteria, where Frodine excitedly introduced the students to the new facility and its features and answered their questions.
“You guys have the coolest music rooms ever,” Frodine said to the eager students seated before her.
The $33 million project, which was designed to house the school’s renowned fine arts magnet program, is a part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. HISD Construction Services and Parker campus staff worked diligently over spring break to move in equipment and arrange classroom furniture and decorations in advance of the opening day.
“We are so excited to be here,” Frodine said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done.”
The new school includes a 500-seat auditorium with collapsible bleacher-style seating, band, orchestra, vocal, and multipurpose rooms, and flexible learning spaces. The new cafeteria also features a separate seating area for parents visiting their children for lunch.
The two-story, 113,000-square-foot building will accommodate about 850 students. It will house pre-kindergarten and first and second grades on the ground level and third through fifth grades on the second floor.
Fifth-grader Gisselle Sanchez said she liked that the new building was so much brighter and bigger — especially the school’s new two-level library.
“I love to read,” Sanchez said, smiling. “I can’t wait to see all of the new books they have.”
Parker is among 40 schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Half of all projects are now finished and open to students. Once all work is finished, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.
Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.