Hundreds of Kolter Elementary School families gathered Saturday at the site where their old school once stood, eager to get a peek at concrete and steel rising up from the ground before them.
Many were clad in red and blue shirts adorned with a proud and determined message: “Hurricanes are strong. Kolter is stronger.” Others held white paper fans emblazoned with, “Consider me a big fan of the new Kolter Elementary.”
All were there to celebrate the construction progress on the foreign language magnet school, set to re-open next summer after being destroyed two years prior by Hurricane Harvey.
“Harvey destroyed a lot of visible structures in the city.” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “But it did not destroy us as citizens of this great city of Houston and of Team HISD. I’m excited about what’s to come in 2020.”
Kolter’s new $23 million facility will accommodate about 750 students. The two-story 91,300 square-foot-building will feature open, brightly colored learning spaces, abundant natural light, and extended learning spaces throughout the building for student collaboration.
“This building symbolizes the spirit of this community and our hopes for the future,” HISD Board of Education Trustee Sue Deigaard said.
Students and staff were relocated after the storm to the former Gordon Elementary School, where they will remain for the duration of the construction process.
For Kolter Principal Julie Dickinson, the school’s new beginning is proof that the spirit of the school community is resilient.
“Over and over, what we proved is that who we are is much bigger than anything Mother Nature can bring our way and much bigger than any building,” Dickinson said.
After closing remarks, attendees — including the family of Jennie Katherine Kolter, the school’s namesake — used bright blue paint pens to sign a large silver construction beam that will be featured on the campus once the new school is completed.
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