Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rummel Creek Elementary event caps bond program

Spring Branch ISD celebrated a bond program milestone as its Board of Trustees, district and campus leaders, and teachers and students met recently to mark the start of construction on the district’s final new, elementary school rebuilding project.  Click here to view photos from this event.

The well-attended afternoon program and outdoor groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 13 at Rummel Creek Elementary, located at 625 Brittmoore in the west Houston neighborhood.

The new Rummel Creek Elementary campus is the final elementary school replacement construction project authorized in November 2007 as part of a $597.1 million bond issue that has also made improvements to all SBISD campuses.

The original elementary campus dates back to 1962. The new Rummel Creek Elementary will be a modern, 117,000 square-feet, two-story facility with a brick and stone fa├žade. It will accommodate up to 750 students on two floors. The new school will include special music, art and science classrooms and a large modern library that will function as a campus hub for student learning and technology applications.

The Rummel Creek PTA donated nearly $200,000 to add playground equipment, an improved running track and technology enhancements to the new school project.

Speakers for the groundbreaking program included Superintendent of Schools Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D.; Board of Trustees Member Katherine Dawson; former Trustee and Rummel Creek graduate and parent Mike Falick; Texas District 133 Rep. Jim Murphy; and Rummel Creek  Elementary’s Principal, Nancy Harn.

In his remarks, Superintendent Klussmann noted that Rummel Creek wasn’t on the bond’s original 12 elementary school construction list. It was added four years ago when cost savings derived from low project bids and favorable bond rates made possible the addition of another rebuilding project.

“With the Board of Trustees’ management – and luck – we saved enough for a 13th school to be rebuilt. This is a complete school being built off the savings we realized in the Bond Program,” he said to applause from the audience.

To date, 11 new elementary schools in SBISD have been rebuilt and opened. Valley Oaks Elementary should open by January 2015 as the district’s 12th rebuilt elementary campus.

Board of Trustees member Katherine Dawson shared Board greetings and remarks after Scout Troop No. 598 led the public gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Trustee Dawson reflected on personal memories in the old school – the sights and smells; PTA meetings; author visits in the “kiva,” a campus gathering space for sharing; art car parades; teachers’ workroom conversations; and cafeteria plays. New memories will be a part of the new school soon.

“Today’s ceremonial groundbreaking symbolizes the beginning of the construction phase that will ultimately lead to new memories and the creation of a new school that will be a rich learning environment for our kids and perfectly complement the outstanding teaching that occurs daily,” she said.

“Today, we celebrate and look forward to our next celebration – a ribbon cutting in a new building perfectly designed to inspire minds, shape lives and create fond memories for the generations of students to come,” the Trustee added.  (Read the full statement below…)

Former Trustee Mike Falick, a Rummel Creek graduate who later returned to the neighborhood to raise his own children, said that he was humbled to speak at the groundbreaking for a new school.

“When my parents moved to Hermitage Lane in 1966, they couldn’t have known that I’d end up here . . . that a seed was planted. I don’t think that they ever thought about replacing this building with a wonderful, newer building,” he said.

“This building means so much to me and to my family. We came back here for this school and for this community . . . in 50 years, one of these students here today may be standing up here and speaking about this great community,” the former Trustee added.

Texas Rep. Jim Murphy, who represents the Rummel Creek neighborhood in west Houston’s District 133, presented the school with a flag flown over the state Capitol.

He noted that families take pride in their neighborhood public school by the number of “RCE” decals he observes on cars and SUVs. Like Falick, Rummel Creek graduates often return as adults with children.

“I wish all the school districts in Texas were like you here, and like Spring Branch,” Rep. Murphy said. “Spring Branch ISD schools are a great stabilizing force in this community.”

During her remarks, Principal Nancy Harn noted that former Principal Shirley Lincoln, now deceased, shared nearly four decades of experience gained during the school’s 50th anniversary several years ago. Lincoln rated teaching at the school as its foundation.

“The foundation of Rummel Creek Elementary is the strong, professional and committed teaching and educational staff that has continued here over the years,” Principal Harn said.

“Our school has always been supported with the time, talents and money of our parents and community, and . . . the guidance, resources and knowledge of our district and our Board of Trustees,” Principal Harn added. (Read the full statement below…)

Rummel Creek Elementary’s student choir, directed by Karen Donathen, performed two songs, “Sweet Music,” and “Follow Your Dreams.”

Building projections call for the current school to be demolished this summer; the new Rummel Creek would then open by January 2016. Students and staff will move into the district’s transition campus near Westchester Academy for International Studies for about 18 months.

Project architectural services at Rummel Creek Elementary are provided by SHW Group Architects. The building general contractor is Westfall Constructors. SBISD project managers are Terry Bell and Kris Drosche.

Inside the New Rummel Creek Elementary School

Campus: Rummel Creek Elementary 
Address: 625 Brittmoore
Principal: Nancy Harn
Architect: SHW Group Architects
Builder: Westfall Constructors
Capacity: 750 students 
Grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade
Size: 117,000 square feet
Details: New building will replace 1962 school; New, two-story building includes a large library “hub” and special rooms for music, art and science instruction; projected opening is by January 2016 for students and teachers.

Statement by Board of Trustees Member Katherine Dawson

Good Afternoon, Road Runners and community members. My name is Katherine Dawson, and it is my pleasure to welcome you and bring you greetings on behalf of the SBISD Board of Trustees.

This is a remarkable day of celebration as we visibly begin a new chapter in the Rummel Creek Elementary journey. It is a time to celebrate and a time to thank our community, the architects, the builders, the RCE planning committee members and many others for their support, vision, input and toils during the design and development phase.

It is a time to express appreciation to the community for their support of the bond program that enabled the rebuilding of Rummel Creek and 12 other elementary schools. It is a time to recognize and show our appreciation to the RCE staff and parent volunteers for their time and hard work to make this transition possible. We have imagined great possibilities in a new building, and today, we take a step to make the drawings and plans of that new school a reality.

As we say good bye to this building, let’s pause and reflect on the memories we had in this school. For me, I will remember the smells, PTA meetings and author visits in the KIVA, art car parades and students working in the courtyards, conversations in the teachers’ workroom and the many plays in the cafeteria. But upon further remembrance, we realize these good memories were enhanced by the school building, but created by the RCE staff, the community and our children within the walls of the school.

These good memories will last forever and will sustain us as we reach the next milestone in our journey to a new Rummel Creek Elementary. Today’s ceremonial ground breaking symbolizes the beginning of the construction phase that will ultimately lead to new memories and the creation of a new school that will be a rich learning environment for our kids and perfectly complement the outstanding teaching that occurs daily. 


This new school will nestle into the fabric of our neighborhood and build on the beauty and nature that surrounds this campus. Today, we celebrate and look forward to our next celebration that of a ribbon cutting in a new building perfectly designed to inspire minds, shape lives and create fond memories for the generations of students to come.
Statement by Rummel Creek Elementary Principal Nancy Harn

First of all, the Rummel Creek family is extremely grateful to the SBISD Board of Trustees, Dr. Duncan Klussmann, and our community for approving the bond plan and for managing the program so well that the district was able to add a 13th campus. 

When we began the design process with SHW, we asked for feedback from staff, students, parents and community members.  Our beautiful new plan is evidence that they listened. Thank you to SHW.
A couple of years ago, Rummel Creek had its 50th Anniversary. During those days of celebrations, I got to visit with the late Shirley Lincoln – who was a great Principal here for 38 years.  We compared notes about what Rummel Creek was like then and now.  We agreed on a number of important issues that has made RCE outstanding then, now and in the years to come.

The foundation of Rummel Creek Elementary is the strong, professional and committed educational staff that has continued here over the years.  Our school has always been supported with the time, talents and money of our parents and community.  And the protection over our heads has been given through the guidance, resources and knowledge of our district and our Board of Trustees.

Thanks again to the School Board, Dr. Duncan Klussmann and our community for this opportunity to again establish a state-of- the-art school that will meet and exceed the hopes and dreams we have for our future leaders.

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