Condit Elementary parents and neighbors gathered for a community meeting Thursday evening to hear about the construction timeline and see final design plans for the school’s new 21st century campus. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 1, and construction will begin before the end of the year.
“I’m really pleased with the final design of the new building,” said Condit Principal Dan Greenberg. “We had some healthy disagreements along the way regarding parking and other logistical issues, but I think we’ve come up with something everyone can be comfortable with – it’s a win-win for us and the neighborhood.”
The new 88,000-square-foot school will feature a centralized learning commons area surrounded by a two-story cluster of classrooms grouped by grade level. The commons area is an open concept design with natural light, flexible seating, and bookshelves used to define quiet spaces.
“I really like how each grade level has a section right outside their door to allow kids to further study in small groups,” said Fred Bowyer, Project Advisory Team member and former principal of Condit. “People like the nostalgia of this old school, but I’m sure they will realize how phenomenal the new school will be.”
The school, located at 7000 South Third in Bellaire, is being built on an adjacent park area while the students remain in the current building. When the new building is completed in the first quarter of 2016, the current building will be demolished and additional parking along with 60,000 square feet of green space will be installed.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Brad Cheesman, Project Executive for DivisonOne Construction, the general contractor for the project. “It is important to us to be a good neighbor, keeping in mind noise concerns, maintaining the roads, coordinating our schedule with school activities, and we are committed to doing that.”
The construction area will be fenced off from the school to provide both a physical and visual barrier to the activities. The construction entrance will be on the opposite side from the school for maximum separation. Workers will not have any interaction with students or school staff, and all workers will undergo a background check and will be badged.
“Condit is an amazing school now, but this current building is just inadequate,” said Julia Tamm, Condit parent and Project Advisory Team member. “I’m excited about the new building. We designed the best school possible within the constraints we had to work with. It’s not a cookie cutter school – it’s flexible and embraces new technology.”
Groundbreaking for the new building will be held at the site on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 9 a.m. The community is invited to attend.