Askew ES construction makes huge gains

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Christmas came early for Askew Elementary School Project Advisory Team members, who got their first tour of their new building Thursday afternoon.

Brightly colored classrooms, a learning commons overlooking the library, and large cafetorium were just a few of the spaces PAT members got a glimpse of during their walk-through, which included a final stop in the principal’s office.

Askew Principal Ebony Cumby smiled as she said she could already envision the exact placement of her new red couch.

“It’s really cool to see everything coming to fruition,” Cumby said, noting that it was overwhelming but also exciting to see how much progress had been made on the new facility.

Askew is one of 40 schools being rebuilt as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. Once complete, the $31 million facility will accommodate up to 850 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades.

The construction project is about 65 percent complete, with the building enclosed and interior walls and site utilities nearly finished. In addition, both exterior brick and window installations have been completed, the concrete driveway is nearly done, and crews have begun painting the interior.

Check out the school’s construction in real-time

Pre-kindergarten through first-grade students will be located on the first floor, as will the learning commons, music and theater classrooms, visual arts lab, and special education department. Also on the first floor are dining and multipurpose areas separated by an accordion door.

The second floor will house second- through fifth-grade classrooms, as well as the art lab, additional administrative offices, and a computer lab that overlooks the learning commons. Hallways on both floors have alcoves that can accommodate up to 10 students for independent study.

“The project is coming along smoothly,” Program Manager Jorge Huerta said. “This will be 21st-century learning at its best.”

The building is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Once complete, the old facility will be demolished to make way for a new parking lot.

First-year Assistant Principal Bianca Garrick couldn’t contain her excitement as she joined in on group photos with her colleagues during the tour.

“It’s great to see the renderings come to life,” Garrick said. “There’s nothing like a new building.”

Construction is underway at roughly two dozen campuses. Almost half of all projects are now complete and open to students. Once all work is finished, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.

Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.