Around 100 stakeholders of Garden Oaks Montessori turned out this week for a bond community meeting to learn about design plans to expand and renovate the 75-year-old school.
The crowd heard from the project manager, architect, principal, and trustee, and had the opportunity to ask questions.
“The community is excited about the new construction, and especially that we are also able to include renovations to our existing building in the scope,” said Garden Oaks Principal Lindsey Pollock. “The neighborhood has been tremendously supportive of the project.”
As part of HISD’s current bond program, the school will receive new additions and general renovations to accommodate up to 900 students in pre-K through eighth grade.
The project will feature both new and renovated classroom spaces, a new multipurpose gymnasium, and a new secure main entrance. Additional parking and separate bus and parent drop-off driveways, as well as upgraded electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems are also included in the scope of work.
“I think the plans are fabulous now; I love the layout,” said Project Advisory Team member Cheryl McCosh, who is also a parent at the school. “For a long time, they weren’t sure that the existing classroom building renovation would be included due to budget constraints, so we’re very happy now to know that it will be.”
Other plans for the new campus include flexible, child-centered learning spaces which will accommodate diverse learning styles with integrated technology. The PAT also hopes to retain most of the green space and trees that are important to the school and incorporate outdoor learning centers.
Montessori education is characterized by a constructivist approach to learning, hands-on materials, self-directed, interactive, and collaborative learning in a multi-age classroom setting. These essential components of a Montessori environment have been interwoven into the project’s guiding principles.
“I’m impressed with the designs, especially with the plans to better accommodate the middle school students,” said District I Trustee Anna Eastman, who represents Garden Oaks. “I’m really excited about the new campus, and it’s great to see the timeline falling into place and to see the project moving forward.”
Construction on the project is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year, and last about 18 months.
Details on construction logistics, project phasing, and safety are currently being ironed out and will be shared with stakeholders at the third community meeting, which will be scheduled later this year, near the start of construction.