Huffman ISD breaks ground on new elementary school campus
Story by Houston Chronicle: By Melanie Feuk, firstname.lastname@example.org
miling spectators snapped photos of children who stood in a row behind a mound of soil, holding shovels as tall as them and wearing adult-sized construction hats that kept sliding down over their eyes.
Proud parents were on standby to help kids hold their shovels as they broke ground on the site of Huffman ISD's new elementary school at 26503 FM 2100 in Huffman on Tuesday, June 20.
"There is no greater investment than our children," said Chris Huckabee, CEO of Huckabee architectural firm. "If you want to change the world, get these kids an amazing education and you will change the world. To the community, thank you. You are investing in something great."
Huckabee expounded on the game-changing potential of the new facility.
"This is not your standard building," Huckabee said. "It is unique, and I believe what you're going to see is a building that's designed for a unique learner, which our kids are today. They get their content differently. They engage differently, and I believe what you're going to see in this building is something that really will excite you and the children that enter this building."
The 109,000-square-foot, two-story building will have approximately 30 classrooms for grade levels kindergarten through fifth. The building's open concept design means teachers will have a range of options for classroom spaces, including walls that can open up to create larger classroom spaces, collaboration spaces and outdoor learning spaces.
Paradigm Construction is building the school, which is projected to be open in time for the 2018-2019 school year. The building's budget is approximately $29 million. Currently situated on a site surrounded by trees and nature, the district intends to keep as much of the natural habitat intact around the new school as possible.
"This is only the beginning for Huffman ISD, and we've got great things to come," said Benny Soileau, superintendent of Huffman ISD. "Seeing the support that we have here today and the people that have shown up for this occasion is encouraging to me and everyone else that is involved in this project. As we turn the soil, let's envision all of our elementary students at the existing and new elementary campuses, learning in an environment that could have only been dreamed of when we were children."
Soileau outlined the process by which plans for the new elementary school have come to fruition. A community advisory community, comprised of approximately 50 individuals.
"After six meetings and almost 20 hours of discussion, they crafted a bond proposal that was passed overwhelmingly," Soileau said. "We also had teachers and administrators that were part of that process. They traveled all over the state to see other schools. They spent time giving their input on the building's design."
Teachers and administrators are now in the curriculum delivery and design phase.
"I can't say enough how proud I am of the people I work with these individuals and the effort they're putting forth to really own not only the facility, but also own the curriculum process and how we're going to teach moving forward in Huffman ISD," Soileau said.
Huffman ISD trustees, to whom the final decision regarding the new elementary school fell, were present during the groundbreaking ceremony as well.