The Condit Elementary School community gathered Thursday to celebrate the formal grand opening of their first new facility in almost a century.
Constructed as part of the voter-approved 2012 Bond Program, the 83,000-square-foot school features a centralized learning commons surrounded by a two-story cluster of classrooms, an open-concept design with bright colors, curved walls with seating nooks, and plenty of natural light throughout.
The elementary campus was one of six new Houston Independent School District schools that opened to students this past August.
“For me, it wasn’t until I was able to live the experience through the eyes of the most important people on our campus — our kids — that I was able to step back and see what we’ve done,” Principal Dan Greenberg said, speaking to a crowd of more than 100 school stakeholders. “When I think about the leadership skillset we champion at Condit, I know our building reflects that.”
Located on S. 3rd Street in Bellaire, the new school was constructed adjacent to the old building, which was demolished to make room for a playground, parking and additional green space. The new school can accommodate 750 students and offers a growing Spanish dual language program, currently in its second year.
“They did just a fabulous job,” said HISD Board of Education Trustee Mike Lunceford, who oversees the district in which the school resides. “How it’s turned out, to me, I think it’s better than I ever envisioned.”
The event took place in conjunction with the school’s Leadership Day, held as part of Condit’s Leader in Me program, which promotes leadership development in students. The program featured student emcees, student performances, and several student speakers.
HISD Deputy Superintendent Sam Sarabia offered kudos to the Condit school community for always maintaining a high level of rigor, even when operating out of a building that was more than 100 years old. Sarabia said he previously used Condit as an example of how success was linked more to the strength of a school’s instructional programs than its building. Now, he said, he has another reason to send administrators to Condit.
“Now I’m really sending a lot of principals over here to look at the design, to look at the concept, to see what is available to them as they continue to plan for the opening of their own schools,” Sarabia said.
Also in joining in the celebration on Thursday were Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg and representatives from Congressman John Culberson’s office.
“This is an incredible school. We love it,” said former HISD Board of Education Trustee Laurie Bricker, who is the grandparent of a Condit kindergartner. “My grandson thinks it was built just for him.”
Condit is among 40 schools — including 29 high schools — that are being renovated or rebuilt as part of HISD’s bond program. Almost three dozen projects are expected to be under construction by the end of 2016, which is more than any other time in district history. Once complete, the district will be able to boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.
Though students have only been in the building for one semester, they’re already enamored with their new school.
“I really like our building. There’s more technology so we can get more hands-on time,” said fifth-grader Brooke Baird. “When we’re here, it feels like home.”