Parker Elementary parents and community members gathered at the school Tuesday evening to hear the project team present the latest design plans and timeline for construction of a new school.
Work crews will get started clearing the site this summer, with removal of the temporary buildings and installation of fencing around the construction site. They will also install a temporary sidewalk along the west end of the current building. This work will prepare the site for groundbreaking and construction to start in the fall.
“I’m thrilled to have work start on the site,” said Parker Principal Lori Frodine. “We know we’ll have to make some adjustments and juggle some classes and other activities around during construction, but we can make that work. It will be well worth it.”
As part of HISD’s current bond program, Parker’s 55-year-old building and temporary classrooms will be replaced with a new $29 million, 110,000-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.
“We’re all excited about the new campus,” said Ashley Kolb, who is the parent of a Parker third-grader and also a fifth-grade teacher at the school. “I like that teachers will be able to see outside of classrooms to the small learning centers, so when some students are ready to move ahead to new material or work in small groups, I can keep an eye on what they’re doing.”
Meeting attendees had some questions and concerns on items such as the impact of the demolition on nearby neighbors, drainage and flooding issues on surrounding streets, removal of the scout hut on the corner of the property and parking locations for construction workers and school staff.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Steve Redmond, HISD’s project manager for Parker. “Throughout the process, we want to be a good neighbor and minimize the impact on the surrounding community as much as possible.”
The school will hold another community meeting in the fall prior to the start of construction which will focus on safety measures, logistics, and schedules to ensure all stakeholders have information on parts of the project that may impact them.
“Parker is a wonderful school,” said HISD Trustee Wanda Adams. “These students are reading above level, passing their tests, and I am excited that soon they will have a brand new school.”
The school is expected to ready for students to start the 2017-2018 school year.