Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Frostwood Elementary Grand Opening

Hundreds of campus supporters filled the modern cafeteria at the new Frostwood Elementary School for a Feb. 13 Grand Opening Celebration that was highly anticipated and warmly embraced by the entire school community.  Click here to see photos from this event >>

The newly built Frostwood Elementary, located at 12214 Memorial Drive, is the latest in almost a dozen Spring Branch ISD campuses that have been rebuilt under the district’s $597 million 2007 Bond Plan.

This high visibility campus on the northeast corner of Memorial Drive and Gessner is the 11th elementary school to be rebuilt and opened in SBISD. Plans are now under way to rebuild two remaining elementaries – Valley Oaks and Rummel Creek – for a total of 13 school rebuilding projects.

Frostwood’s new facility is a contemporary, two-story building of about 110,000 square feet. The building’s exterior facade of Texas limestone and brick is complemented by a warm, light-filled interior with large classroom windows. Additional school highlights include a grand main corridor, high-ceilinged art and music rooms, a central-positioned library “hub,” and classrooms equipped with technology learning tools.

Benefits from the 2007 Bond Plan include maintenance and renovation of air-conditioning and heating systems, upgrades to campus security and the purchase of new buses.

If each campus has its own notable feature, Superintendent of Schools Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D., said that the new Frostwood was a “showcase” campus along Memorial and Gessner. “It’s a showcase school on one of the most visible corners in the district. I do thank the community for that,” he said.

School and district leadership, Frostwood’s parents and Bunker Hill Village leaders all helped shape the final design plan through joint planning, discussion and decision-making, including improvements on the site’s largely unseen drainage needs.

“I’m a huge believer in cities and villages, and counties, and school districts working together,“ the Superintendent said in reference to the Frostwood project.

The Feb. 13 Grand Opening Event attracted a big gathering. In addition to current and former Board of Trustees members and district administrators, the grand opening drew the following officials and representatives:

  • Deanna Harrington, representing Texas Rep. Jim Murphy, Dist. 133
  • Houston City Council Member Oliver Pennington, Dist. 133
  • Houston City Council Member at Large Jack Christie
  • Several Bunker Hill Village officials, including Mayor Jay Williams; former Mayor Derry Essary; and Village Council Members Susan Schwartz, Keith Brown and Jay Janacek

The Frostwood Elementary Fifth-Grade Chorus was an event highlight. The fifth-graders filled the entire stage and performed a patriotic song medley, which included “American Dream,” “America the Beautiful,” and “We are the Future of America.” The group also performed the school song, “Frostwood Family.” The choir was directed by Julie Sykes. Retired music teacher Judy Luthy was the accompanist on piano.

Board of Trustees Vice President Chris Vierra, speaking on behalf of the Board, thanked all the Frostwood community, teachers, staff, students and PTA for their support and commitment to the 2007 Bond program.

“Ever since I saw the designs for this school, I knew it would be one of our most beautiful campuses, and it does not disappoint,” she said. “How amazing for the students, teachers and staff to learn and work in this beautiful, new, state-of-the-art facility.” (Read full statement below.)

Frostwood PTA President Tracey Rogan thanked the Trustees and Superintendent, the district’s Project Manager David Vesling, and community members and voters for the new building.

“It has been an honor to be involved in the building process and, through my involvement, I can attest to the thoughtfulness that went into the design and construction of our campus,” she said.

“The collaboration of parents, community members and teachers, along with design team, has resulted in the amazing building you see before you,” she also said. (Read full statement below.)

School Principal Ellen Green welcomed all to “the new Frostwood 2.0,” and she explained how parents, teachers and students supported the transition away from the old building and then back to the new Frostwood with great ideas. Community really does count, she said.

“The teachers of the original Frostwood Elementary School would be so proud of what has been made and maintained in this community that celebrates great ideas, nurtures children, and values education,” she said. (Read full statement below.)

Fifth-grader Zane Prumudji stole many hearts as he explained in his own words exactly how awesome the new school was for him and other students. He shared special memories of the old school, transition site and new building.

“It is awesome. Man, I love every aspect of it,” he said, describing the “new, humongous playground,” baseball and soccer fields, a huge library, and even the elevator and new restrooms.

“I especially love the modern toilets. I’m so glad that I don’t have to share toilets with the kindergartners and sit on those tiny toilet seats anymore!” he explained.

State Rep. Murphy’s representative Deanna Harrington presented the school with a flag flown over the state Capitol in Austin.

Houston City Council Member Jack Christie spoke directly to students, using the fifth-grade choir seated on the stage steps as a sounding board. The former Texas State Board of Education chair once helped a national television crew film in a Frostwood classroom many years ago for a special report on modern technology and student learning.

The film crew was impressed with what they observed at Frostwood. “They said to me, ‘These children are lucky.’ So, I say to you students, ‘Listen to your teachers!’”

Frostwood parent and volunteer Patty Busmire, who is also a member of the district’s Bond Oversight Committee, presented several special recognitions.

One recognition was given to volunteer Ann Tidwell for the many contributions to the school by her and the late Jim Tidwell. The engraved Frostwood Tiger mascot set off in gold leaf on the building’s east exterior, a special project, will be named Tidwell in Ann and Jim’s honor.

Busmire also honored volunteer Peter Gilmore with a gift clock for his “sacrifice of time” for his contributions. “We all owe Peter Gilmore a debt of gratitude,” she said. Patty’s own volunteering and work on behalf of Frostwood Elementary has been recognized. The new school’s playground has been named “Patty’s Playground” in her honor.

The Frostwood Grand Opening attracted many former students, staff and principals. Some guests included former student Patti Pace, who is now SBISD’s Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning; former Principal Roddie Ray; and former teachers and staff including Mary Pozzi, Linda Crowl, Patty Blyskal, Cindy Stone, Kelly Strange and Patty Faltisek.

Board of Trustees Vice President Chris Vierra statement:

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for joining us for this long anticipated Grand Opening of Frostwood Elementary. I want to thank the Frostwood Community; Frostwood teachers and staff; the Frostwood PTA and task force; all our amazing students; and, of course, the SBISD community for their continue support of and commitment to the 2007 Bond Program.

“Ever since I saw the designs for this school, I knew it would be one of our best campuses. And it does not disappoint! How amazing for the students, teachers and staff to learn and work in this beautiful, new, state-of-the-art facility.

“I especially love the thoughtful touches: For example, the new art room with its stunning light and outdoor learning area; the cafeteria, a beautiful meeting place for kids and events; and, of course, the Frostwood Tiger.

“Tigers happen to be my favorite animal – they are widely respected for both their strength and beauty. It is the perfect symbol for Frostwood Elementary whose strength can be seen every day in its – committed teachers, willing students, strong leadership, and amazing community of parents and neighbors that support the learning that happens here. And now Frostwood is known for its beauty as well.

“A great deal of planning and preparation has gone into today, and I want to thank every single one of you who invested time, energy and resources to make this day a reality. Thank you all for coming out today to celebrate the new Frostwood!”

PTA President Tracey Rogan’s remarks:

“It’s hard to believe that this day is finally here! I’ve had the pleasure of being a Frostwood parent for the past eight years, and at last count I have at least six more years to go! Not only do I have a vested interest in Frostwood as President of the PTA, but also as a parent of four children!

“It has been an honor to be involved in the building process and through my involvement, I can attest to the thoughtfulness that went into the design and construction of our campus. The collaboration of parents, community members and teachers, along with the design team, has resulted in the amazing building you see before you. Our teachers, staff and parents have made the move away and back again as seamless as possible.”

“On behalf of the Frostwood Elementary PTA, I’d like to thank the SBISD Board of Trustees, Dr. Klussmann, our Project Manager David Vesling, and all the community members and voters who made this building possible for our children.

“I’d also especially like to thank Principal Green for her endless time and dedication to Frostwood. She jumped on board and hit the ground running, and has been a wonderful leader on our campus throughout the construction process.”

Frostwood Elementary Principal Ellen Green’s remarks:

“I believe the famous movie quote is, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ and here you are! . . . We, the lucky and proud inhabitants of Planet Frostwood, want to welcome you to the new Frostwood 2.0!

“In a few minutes you are going to hear from our highly esteemed fifth- grade student, Zane Pramuji, about life as a student at Frostwood Elementary. Let me tell you a little about living the good life as principal of Frostwood Elementary. I have found that when you are principal in the Frostwood community you mainly take on the role of ‘receiver of other people’s good ideas’. And look at what other people’s good ideas have done!

“When I arrived at Frostwood a little over two years ago, the Frostwood design team had already envisioned and put to paper a beautiful building, but as it arose so did the inspiration of the community and their ideas and input added to the persona and uniqueness that became Frostwood 2.0.

“Parents, who are gracious and generous with their time and treasure, networked globally and shared their findings and suddenly there is an emerging organic garden; a green school that recycles and saves water and energy; and a salad bar supporting our healthy living initiatives.

“Our teachers, who are educational entrepreneurs, continually dream of and implement evermore exciting opportunities for our students that keep the enthusiasm vortex growing.

“Even our students have great ideas. The other day a student told me that if we had more patrols at drop off and pick up things would work a lot better. So we are doing that as fast as we can.
“The founders of the original Frostwood would be so proud of what has been made and maintained in this community that celebrates ideas, nurtures children, values education.

“The Frostwood family is extremely grateful to the SBISD Board of Trustees, Dr. Duncan Klussmann, our PTA and all the community members and voters who made this possible. I want to extend a special thank you to Pfluger Architects and Durotech Construction. We believe they are the finest in the business and their shared concern and dedication to the Frostwood community, faculty and students has made them the best fit for our dream project.”

Speech excerpts by fifth-grader Zane Pramudji:

“I would like to start off by sharing with you my thoughts when I was in kindergarten. I can still remember on one snowy day when all of the kindergarten teachers let all of the kindergarteners play on the old wooden deck outside the classrooms. That was fun!

“In the first grade, I recall dancing around the old cafetorium in a bug suit with all of my classmates. I was dressed up as a glowing firefly. In second grade, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Frostwood.

“Two years ago, our lovely music teacher led our class in singing for the groundbreaking ceremony. And it was just last year when we had to get used to long bus rides, smaller classrooms and a very small playground.

“Now, we are at this new school. We finally have this new campus that matches the best teachers and the best education in the district. It is awesome. Man, how I love every aspect of it!

“My favorite thing is that we have a huge library. We have more furniture, more books and more computers. It even has a cafĂ© where you can bring your lunch. The classrooms are awesome! All the equipment is new. We now have a huge ActivBoard that the teachers can use.

“We also have a new humongous playground! We have more equipment there and every little piece has multiple uses. We also have our own baseball field and a soccer field, and a nice new hardtop (play surface) so that we can use it when it rains.

“My friends and I think that the new elevator is especially cool. In fact, we are coming up with a plan for how we can take turns breaking our legs so that we get use to it. The new water fountains are also pretty neat, especially the water bottle filler.

“I especially love the modern toilets. I’m so glad that I don’t have to share toilets with the kindergartners and sit those tiny toilets anymore.”


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