Students at Grady Middle School saw their new construction site go vertical today and marked the occasion by adding their signatures to a steel beam that will be used in the building of a 21st century addition to their campus.
“We’re on our way. We see progress every day, and it’s happening right outside our windows,” said Grady Principal Gretchen Kasper-Hoffman.
The new addition – a core classroom wing with 24 classrooms, 6 science labs, 6 learning commons, and 3 administrative suites – will complete the multi-phase master plan for the campus that was begun with funds from the 2007 bond. Houston voters approved this second phase of the building in the current bond program, which will expand student capacity at the school from 580 to 850.
Trustee Harvin Moore, who himself attended Grady as a student when it was an elementary school, joined with the current students to add his signature to the beam, and said he was pleased with the headway being made.
“It’s so gratifying to see these beams standing upright,” Moore said. “A lot of planning went into building a 21st century campus for Grady, and it won’t be long before it’s finished. It’ll be great for the kids. These T-buildings are going away, and we’ll have lots more green space.”
As students queued up to sign the beam during their lunch period, they also had a great view of workers in action and could watch as a crane picked up heavy steel pillars, swung them into position and secured them in place. Several students and staff commented that they were amazed with how quickly the steel was put in place.
“It’s really cool. It seemed like there was nothing for a long time, and now it changes every day,” said Grady sixth-grader Noor Ikram.
Construction will be put on hold for three days this week to ensure that the site activity will not distract students who are taking STAAR tests, but workers will come back on Friday and resume work on the project full steam ahead.
“We’ve been working several months doing work that’s underground, where nobody can see,” said Calvin Padgett, construction superintendent for the Grady project. “In this phase, everything we do you’ll be able to see, and the progress many days will be dramatic.”
The new wing is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, with students occupying the building in the first quarter of 2016.