Parker ES community gets update on design plans

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Parker Elementary parents and community members gathered at the school Monday evening to hear architects present the latest design plans for the school’s new 21st century campus.

“We’re happy with the progress we’ve made,” said Parker ES Principal Lori Frodine. “The architects have been great at listening to our feedback and making tweaks to the designs as needed. They’ve created flexible learning spaces in every nook and cranny of the school, and have taken great care to honor the historical aspects of the property.”

As part of HISD’s 2012 bond program, Parker’s 55-year-old building and temporary classrooms will be replaced with a new $29 million, 132,000-square-foot facility, designed specifically to house the school’s award-winning music magnet program. Features of the new building will include a 500-seat auditorium, expanded music and practice space, plenty of natural light and flexible learning spaces.

“I’m very excited about the new school,” said Parker parent and Project Advisory Team (PAT) member Josh Vanlandingham. “Parker has a world class musical program, we need a real performance space. The new facility will provide kids with a nice new space to learn and to practice that’s bright and open – it absolutely will make a difference in the experience they have.”

PAT members have been meeting with architects over the past year to plan the design of the new school and to ensure that needs and priorities of students, staff and community are incorporated into the process. While much of the design has already taken shape, the planners will continue to refine the plans to include more detail.

“All the decisions have not yet been made,” said Fernando Brave, principal architect at Brave Architecture. “For example, we don’t know whether it will be all brick or what material will be used. We are still making these decisions based on budget and other considerations.”

The design process will continue into the first half of next year. At least one more community meeting will be held to discuss the project before construction is scheduled to start in late 2015.