Braeburn Elementary School students clad in bright green T-shirts braved the summer sun Saturday as they converged on a construction site that was once home to their old school.
The students sat with parents and friends, some under umbrellas and sipping ice-cold water, and gazed in amazement at the site before them — two stories of steel beams that soon will be transformed into their new school.
“We are so happy that this building will be our final Braeburn campus and the best one yet,” said fourth-grader Oscar Perez, whose words were then translated by fourth-grader Stanley Jimenez for the largely Spanish-speaking crowd. “When we saw the blueprint for our new school, we almost couldn’t believe that we would get to learn in such a beautiful building.”
The students spoke to hundreds gathered at the site of their old campus to celebrate the construction progress on the school, which is being rebuilt after being damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Set to open next summer, the new $27 million, 112,000-square-foot facility will feature open, brightly colored learning spaces, abundant natural light, and extended learning spaces throughout the building for student collaboration.
“Harvey destroyed the original school but not our resolve,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We’re excited that, in less than a year, we will open the new Braeburn Elementary School.”
HISD Board of Education voted in 2017 to rebuild four elementary schools — Braeburn, Kolter, Mitchell, and Scarborough — after facilities assessments found significant property damage, as well as a strong need to raise the elevation of the buildings to prevent potential future flood damage.
The four schools have been in temporary locations since the storm.
“We’ve accomplished so many things,” Braeburn Principal Amanda Rodgers said. “But the thing I am most proud of is how Braeburn has remained the same amazing community through all of these changes.”
As the ceremony concluded, attendees took turns using blue markers to permanently inscribe their names on a large steel beam that will be featured as part of the new school.
“You are the future of your community,” HISD Trustee Sue Deigaard said, speaking to students in the crowd. “You are the future of our city, our country, and our world.”
Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.