Codwell ES students mark first day of school year with newly renovated building

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Codwell Elementary School staff were all smiles on Monday as they welcomed students back to their newly renovated Tavenor Lane campus.

The day held special significance for many parents and students — not just because it marked the first day of the 2017-2018 school year, but because it marked the first time they were able to go back into the building since having to relocate to a temporary campus three years ago.

“This is like a dream come true,” Codwell Principal Kristy Love said while greeting her students with hugs as they trickled into the main entrance of the school. “Our 21st century building with modern technology will rival any suburban school.”

The Tavenor Lane campus had been closed and vacant since the summer of 2014 when renovation work being done as part of the 2007 Bond Program uncovered significant moisture problems that required students to relocate.

Although the initial goal was quick remediation of the issue, further assessments showed the best and most cost effective solution would be a complete renovation of the building.

In addition to the complete interior renovation, the facility now features a designated bus circle along Tavenor Lane, a new entry with security vestibule to better control access to the building, and a new kitchen. In the cafeteria, the school has a new stage dedicated to the Fine Arts & Physical Development magnet program.

The building also features a T.V. production Green Room so students have the space they need to produce their daily current events television program.

On Monday morning, Joyce Hawkins was among the excited parents and grandparents making their way into the school auditorium and cafeteria to drop off their students.

Hawkins, a former Codwell employee, said she couldn’t contain her delight when thinking of the opportunities available to her third grade grandchild and first grade great-grandchild.

“I want them to excel and to be inspired like my other grandchildren,” Hawkins said. “I worked at Codwell for 12 years, and I loved it.”

The first day of school initially was planned for Monday, Aug. 28, but that start date was delayed as a result of damages and flooding sustained from Hurricane Harvey. Most HISD schools — including Codwell — opened on Sept. 11, but some were further delayed or even relocated to temporary campuses as crews worked to repair buildings that sustained the most significant damage during the storm.

Codwell is among nine new and renovated HISD schools that opened for the first time this fall.