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Eleven Codwell Elementary School violinists decked out in Michael Jackson’s signature black fedoras assembled Wednesday on the steps of their new stage as they performed the classic hit “Billie Jean.”
The musical selection performed by the Codwell Violin Ensemble served to formally kick off the school’s Grand Opening and 40th Anniversary Celebration.
The day held special significance for community members, students, and faculty — not just because it marked the anniversary of the school’s inception, but also because it marked the completion of a major renovation and repurposing of the Tavenor Lane campus.
“I’m so thankful that HISD found a way to reopen this school,” HISD Board of Education Trustee Jolanda Jones said. “These babies are our future.”
The new facility, which re-opened to students for the 2017-2018 school year, is now fully enclosed with all classrooms opening to internal hallways. The school also has upgraded classroom and library spaces, a new kitchen, a secure main entry, and a designated bus circle along Tavenor Lane.
“I absolutely, positively love my children,” Love said, gesturing to the dozens of Codwell students seated before her. “When my children come to school, I want them to remember what they have.”
Also included in the renovation was a new TV production Green Room where students can produce their daily current events television program and a new stage for the Fine Arts & Physical Development magnet program.
HISD Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan echoed Principal Love’s sentiments as she praised the efforts made by HISD Construction Services to re-open the school.
“It took us awhile to get to this point,” Lathan said. “But as you take a look around, I think we can all agree it was well worth the wait.”
The Tavenor Lane campus was closed in 2014 when renovation work 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 interior renovation.
Also during the ceremony, fifth-grader Londyn Sampson joined with the violin ensemble to perform “Rise Up” and a representative from U.S. Congressman Al Green’s office presented the school with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol Building.
After the ceremony, students led guests on tours of the new building, making stops in various classrooms, including the dance studio and music room.
“This is amazing,” said John E. Codwell III, grandson of the school’s namesake, as he toured prekindergarten classrooms. “This building is nothing but good for this community.”
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