Wilson Montessori opens doors to new building addition

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When Wilson Montessori students came back from spring break on Monday, they returned to a new three-story building addition specifically designed to evoke a sense of nature and the environment.

Soft earth tones color the walls and floors, different types of tiles provide a sense of texture and expansive windows help connect students to the outdoors.

“Montessori goes back to the environment and taking care of the environment,” Wilson Montessori Principal Beth Bonnette said. “As a part of our environment, the concrete hallways are painted brown and blue like land and water, and the students like the ebb and flow that goes with that.”

The Montrose-area prekindergarten through eighth-grade school is receiving a $24.7 million makeover as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. The project includes construction of the addition, as well as renovations to the historic main building, which was built in 1924.

The new addition features a learning center, gymnasium, drama room, multipurpose rooms and a dining area with storefront glass as its north border looking out onto the exterior landscape. The new library spaces have large exterior windows to bring in natural light and connect students to the outdoors.

“It is absolutely incredible to see three years of work and planning and ideas come to fruition,” Bonnette said. “It’s bright, it’s beautiful, it’s useable, it’s functional, and we are beyond excited to be able to use it.”

Students beamed with pride on Monday as they gushed about their favorite parts of the new building.

“I like the chairs and the desks,” said fifth-grader Rebekah Wood. “The bathrooms are really great, and I like the sink.”

Fellow fifth-grader Alek Blair said he could already envision how his school’s new common spaces will help his future aspirations.

“I think it will help me connect with friends,” he said. “I just like talking to people, and this will help me pursue my passion of talking to people.”

Wilson is one of 40 schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Construction is underway at roughly two dozen campuses in HISD, and half of all bond 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 construction updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.