Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A First Peek at the New Frostwood Elementary

A handful of Frostwood Elementary School families who donated generously to a PTA fundraising effort earned the chance to be the first families to see the newly rebuilt school located at the corner of Memorial Drive and Gessner.

During Sunday, Dec. 15, tours of the new building, the local families rated several features of the new school highly. The old school certainly couldn’t hold a candle to the new one, many said.

“I like the whole aesthetic of the new school – the big windows, that big library, the sunny art room. I think that this building will inspire a lot of creativity,” said Bucky Farrow, who toured the school with his wife, Suzanne, and three children, Grant, Reagan and Alden.

“[The building] makes you look up and think of the possibilities. It’s the antithesis of the old school, which literally made you look down if you stood in some areas.”

Students, teachers and staff will return to the new Frostwood Elementary on Jan. 7. The official opening of the new school will highlight completion of an 11th new elementary school in Spring Branch ISD since approval of the $597 million district bond program, known locally as the 2007 Bond Plan.

Design or construction is under way on the two remaining school rebuilds – Valley Oaks and Rummel Creek elementary schools.

The new Frostwood is a contemporary, two-story building of about 120,000 square feet built to serve up to 950 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. It has 36 regular classrooms, as well as additional spaces for collaboration, resource and fine arts instruction.

Through the PTA’s fundraising efforts, a beautiful secure student courtyard at the front of the school is one of the last projects under construction.

The Dec. 15 tours for families led by Principal Ellen Green and SBISD Planning and Construction’s David Vesling led to some shared positives – the sunny, southwest facing art room with its loft ceiling and outdoor art court; the numerous windows and natural light throughout the building; and the high-ceilinged, centrally-placed library were among a few spaces the garnered praise.

A few of the building’s “show stoppers” include a two-story, exterior tiger mascot etched into the building’s limestone with gold-leaf detailing, and the introduction of advanced classroom instructional technology with new Brightlink projectors in all classrooms.

“The light is just terrific!” exclaimed art teacher Jane Salinas, who by Sunday had unpacked almost all of 80 yellow crates and six large gondolas delivered recently to her new classroom. After 17 years, she will have an art room with light, space for storage and a kiln. It should be a happy new year, she said.

First-grade teacher Jean Posey, unpacking Sunday in her new room, too, said the new school was beautiful. “It’s a gorgeous school,” said Posey, who is Frostwood Teacher of the Year. “The community and the teachers will love it. There is much more space, more storage, so much more natural light.”

Many Frostwood teachers joined Principal Green on Dec. 4 to get their first, real view of the new building. Since then, many teachers and staff have unpacked, or set up their new rooms, on weekends and other available times.

SBISD Trustees, Frostwood Task Force members, the district’s Bond Oversight Committee and the Bunker Hill City Council will tour the new elementary school on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

A Student & Parent Meet the Teacher event is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 19.

Teachers return officially to the new school on Jan. 6, and students will enter the new facility the next day. A Community Grand Opening celebration will be held in February.    

Pfluger Architects of Houston designed the new Frostwood Elementary. Durotech Construction was the builder.

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