Parker Elementary School students, staff, parents, and community members were visibly excited about their new colorful and modern surroundings as they gathered for Building and Spark Park Dedication ceremony Thursday.
Parker students provided musical entertainment throughout the evening, including the Parker Elementary School Advanced Strings, a surprise performance by the school band, and a reception with Parker Jazz Band.
“One of the things that I see is just how much more seriously the kids take their performances in a fancy auditorium like this one,” Parker Principal Lori Frodine said.
The $33 million project, which was designed to house the school’s renowned fine arts magnet program, is a part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. The two-story, 113,000-square-foot building includes an auditorium with collapsible bleacher-style seating, band, orchestra, vocal, and multipurpose rooms, and flexible learning spaces for 850 students.
“While Parker has always been an outstanding school, this new building will provide students with everything they need to achieve their dreams,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said.
Pre-kindergarten and first and second grades classrooms are on the ground level and third through fifth grades are on the second floor. A new cafeteria also features a separate seating area for parents visiting their children for lunch.
“I know that, with this new facility and all that it contains, my classmates and I are destined for success,” fifth-grader Nevaeh Brooks said.
HISD Board of Education Trustee Wanda Adams said Parker is a modern facility that gives the students and the community a lot to be proud of.
“This is a 21st century school and it inspires confidence and pride not only in the students and staff but everyone who lives around it because a school is the heart of a neighborhood,” Adams said.
Barbara Szopa, who lives across the street from Parker, said despite increased traffic in the area, she is glad students from all over the city can attend this school.
“What an improvement,” Szopa said. “It’s so much more inspiring than the old building.”