Huckabee joined Lancaster ISD to break ground on two new elementary schools this week. The campuses, West Main and Pleasant Run, will replace existing buildings to help LISD move forward with 21st-century educational environments and improved safety and security. Each building will feature multiple outdoor learning courtyards; “Interactive Learning Labs” with makerspaces and writable surfaces; expansive libraries with flexible furniture; windowed corridors to support “learning on display”; natural daylighting; and multi-purpose gymnasiums which also serve as ICC-500 tornado shelters for increased safety. The schools will open in 2017.
Huckabee and Marshall ISD are building a legacy for more than 5,500 students in Marshall, Texas. A groundbreaking ceremony last week marked a major milestone in a years-long effort to bring new facilities and much-needed improvements to the district. The community came together to kick off construction of four new campuses and to celebrate their shared investment in the future of Marshall’s kids.
After a failed bond program in 2014, Marshall ISD asked Huckabee to join the team in hopes of creating a successful bond program for the following year. Community input was key, and Huckabee facilitated discussions with community members to develop a plan to address aging conditions and expand the learning environment to meet the needs of 21st century education. The result was a plan that would re-align grade levels, bring four new schools on-board and consolidate or re-purpose multiple campuses. The $109 million bond referendum passed with 57 percent approval in May 2015.
In his speech to the community during the groundbreaking ceremony, Marshall ISD trustee Chase Palmer said, “We have finally figured out that in order to be successful, we must invest in our kids and our town.”
Three new elementary schools (82,000 sf per) will be constructed on existing sites, with demolition taking place following construction. A new junior high school replaces a building that was constructed in 1924; it was originally used as the high school before being re-purposed in the 1980s as the junior high school. The new 182,000 sf facility will serve 1,300 students in grades 6-8.
A renovation of Hommel Elementary School received first place in the TEXO Distinguished Building Award competition for the Design Build I category. Huckabee partnered with Sedalco Construction Services for the project.
The team worked with Everman ISD to complete a 31,000 square foot renovation of the school that included new classrooms and safety and security upgrades. The project was of special importance to the community because of the building’s historic significance: The facility opened in 1922 as The Everman School and served grades K-12. Through the years, and multiple renovations, the facility had lost some of its original elements.
While the project focused on creating usable space for academics, the team was also able to bring some of the historic charm back to the campus, restoring an old gym floor (which is now the library) and re-create its markings, refinishing the original floors, utilizing tin ceilings and bead-board wainscoting and replacing the windows with period-style panes.
Construction of Shirley Hall Middle School is underway! Huckabee and Weatherford ISD broke ground this month on the project, which will help the district address aging conditions in the 49-year old school, as well as provide much needed space and technology for the growing student population. The new middle school—which will open in 2017—is one of several projects in a $74.9 million bond program. Huckabee is also working with the district to design a 6th grade addition to Tison Middle School and address district-wide improvements to facilities, safety and security.
The new middle school features a flexible and efficient environment that supports 21st century instruction, collaboration and school-wide learning. Three grade-level neighborhoods offer access to classrooms, collaboration zones, outdoor learning space and a collective teacher work area to encourage formal and impromptu interactions. Throughout the campus, natural daylighting, clerestories and borrowed light in interior spaces is utilized to create a bright and open feel, as well as support learning on display and exceptional supervision into each space.
Huckabee designed a new welding lab for Kilgore ISD—a facility that will be used in partnership with Kilgore College to provide dual-credit courses for students. It’s part of an emerging trend to promote a Pre-K through 16 education in a Pre-K through 12 learning environment.
Across the state, Huckabee is working with clients to design facilities that support this approach—from environments that foster the development of project-based learning, problem solving skills and pathway exploration to STEM education, career / tech programming and dual-credit courses. The goal is to help students prepare for college and the workforce while providing them with opportunities to experience higher education at the primary and secondary level.
Kilgore High School’s new shop features 6,000 sf for welding, including eight dual welding stations for 16 students with room to expand to 20. It is Phase 1 of an overall master plan for the high school to offer multiple career pathways and certifications for students. To read more about the project, click here.
Huckabee celebrated groundbreaking ceremonies with Kaufman, Pflugerville and Whitney ISDs. Each event marked the culmination of an extensive planning and design process to bring state-of-the-art academic and athletic facilities to local students.
Kaufman ISD broke ground on their high school addition and renovation project. It’s part of a district-wide effort to address aging campuses and provide new, technology-rich instructional space for a growing student population. The design will create a unified campus, connecting disjointed buildings into a singular facility that brings academics, fine arts and athletics together. New technologies will be utilized to encourage innovation in learning and interior classroom windows help create a learning-on-display environment. The campus will be complete in 2017.
In Pflugerville ISD, school board members broke ground on a new elementary school and new district stadium. Timmerman Elementary School will replace the district’s oldest campus, providing students with a modern facility that features sustainable elements, offers flexibility in learning spaces and supports future growth. The new stadium seats 10,000 spectators and will serve multiple district high schools. Both projects are part of a $287 million bond program. Huckabee partnered with the district to develop a comprehensive plan for the bond. The new facilities are slated to open for the 2016-17 school year.
Huckabee joined Whitney ISD for the groundbreaking ceremony for their new athletic complex. The $11 million project was approved by voters in May and is the second phase of a master planning process that Huckabee helped the district develop (in 2012, WISD passed a $24.6 million bond for a new middle school and district renovations). The athletic complex will include a new competition stadium, new baseball and softball fields and four new tennis courts. The projects will be complete in time for the 2016-17 school year.
Huckabee has long explored innovative ways to help school districts design spaces that engage students and support creativity. This concept has become an integral part of the planning and programming process as more and more clients are looking to incorporate flexible-use space into their facilities. Schools nationwide are integrating “maker” spaces into libraries and other areas.
At Midway Middle School in Midway Independent School District, Huckabee is designing a flexible-use makerspace where students have access to materials, tools and technology to freely create, or remake, physical and digital designs and prototypes. The project is part of a comprehensive district-wide initiative to help students prepare for the workforce and college, starting with the introduction of project-based learning techniques in elementary school and increasing in intensity through middle school and into high school. The makerspace in Midway Middle School will build off of similar spaces found in the district’s elementary schools (read more about the concept here), allowing students to work collaboratively and focus on problem-solving and innovation.
The project is part of a media center renovation for the school, which is creating intentional areas within the center that are clearly individualized and identified, yet cohesively integrated into the larger concept of a resource-rich and flexible-use learning space. The makerspace is adjacent to technology and learning resources, a future A/V lab, study and group presentation areas and a learning stair. The space will feature movable furniture, which will allow students to configure the area based on learning goals. In addition, it will offer ample physical and counter space, a sink and storage areas, wall-size dry erase boards and glazed partitions that can be arranged as needed.
Construction will take place in summer of 2016, opening in time for the 2016-17 school year.
In 2013, the town of West, Texas suffered a tragedy, when a nearby fertilizer plant exploded, causing loss of life and irreparable damage to nearby buildings, including three of West ISD’s schools. As the heart of the community, the schools represented the enormity of the loss, as well as the community’s determination to “rise up.” More than two years later, the community is working together to restore their town, and the school district has turned tragedy into opportunity as they work with Huckabee to rebuild the district’s high school and middle school campus.
The documentary, Rise Up West ISD, follows the school district’s and community’s efforts to restore West—and documents their immense pride in their historic town. The feature will follow the town through next year, but the trailer premiered at the TASA / TASB convention for school district professionals. To follow West ISD’s progress and their efforts to “rise up,” visit www.RestoreWestISD.com.
At Huckabee, we love the communities we serve, and we love helping to provide students with quality facilities that enrich quality education. In the past month, our Huckabee teams have been all over Texas, sharing in our clients’ joys as new campuses are opened and future campuses are coming to life.
In Dripping Springs ISD, our Austin team joined Tiger Nation to celebrate homecoming week at a community spirit rally. The team had the opportunity to share the design for the renovation of Tiger Stadium with the public. The much anticipated stadium, which started construction in August, will feature 8,000 seats, a new press box and amenities and will be located at the high school.
In Granbury, our Fort Worth team helped Granbury ISD and Superintendent Dr. James Largent cut the ribbon on the completed Phase 1 of extensive high school additions and renovations. Phase 1 opens the new cafeteria and coffee bar, learning commons, fine arts wing and the Willie and Wanda Crossland Academic Wing which houses ninth graders. Construction continues on the school’s career and technology addition, auditorium and science lab renovations and athletic improvements. The completion of Phase 1 marks a years-long effort and collaboration between the district, community and Huckabee to provide students with an exceptional learning facility.
Huckabee has also been proud to open several new schools for the 2015-2016 school year, including new elementary schools in Gatesville ISD, Palmer ISD and Prosper ISD, as well as a new junior high school in Alvarado ISD.
The first iteration of Hommel Elementary School was The Everman School, a title still prominently displayed across the front of the building. It was built in 1922 for $31,000 and housed grades K-12. Since then, the building has undergone multiple renovations, losing many of its historic elements in the process. It is now Hommel Elementary School and serves Pre-K through 4th grade.
In 2014, Huckabee was tasked with renovating the space to provide additional classrooms, add safety and security updates and restore some of the school’s history. The renovation included a 2-story classroom addition, which allowed the school to get rid of portable buildings, as well as a secure-entry vestibule and upgrades to building systems. Most notably, however, are the ways in which Huckabee worked to restore the historic aesthetic. From restoration of the original floors to replicating design elements founds in the 1920s, Huckabee was able to bring back the building’s original charm
“During previous renovations, the floors had been covered in vinyl and then covered in carpet,” said Mike King, Associate Principal for the project. “When we pulled back the flooring, we realized there might be an opportunity to restore the original hardwoods. We did a test run in one of the classrooms, and the floors looked great. Now, throughout the building, the original hardwoods have been refinished and restored.”
During the floor restoration, Huckabee uncovered the original court markings from a gym added in the 1940s. The gym had been re-purposed as classroom space and is now the library. While Huckabee was unable to restore the original markings, we instead replicated them, including the historic Everman “E” at center court. It sits proudly at the center of the library, reminding students and teachers of the school’s long history.
Other unique elements include the use of tin ceiling tiles (similar to those used in the original design), walnut bead-board wainscoting and period-style lighting fixtures and window panes.
“We replaced all of the single-pane windows in the facility,” said Mike King. “We were able to provide the school with energy efficient replacement windows that were designed to fit the historic aesthetic. And while we were unable to save the marble sills, the director of facilities had his own idea to re-purpose the material—he cut the marble to make small paper weights for the school!”
Hommel Elementary re-opened in August, during a ribbon cutting ceremony that brought back alumni from the old days. One gentlemen was overheard saying, “I attended here in 1935 and it is so good to see my first grade classroom is still here.”
Huckabee joined Palmer ISD for a special ribbon cutting ceremony, as the district and nearly 1,000 community members celebrated the opening of their new elementary school. The new school provides an energy-efficient space that supports technology in the classrooms, creativity and future growth. It replaces a decades-old facility and was designed with learning, fun and safety in mind. The school will serve up to 570 students in Pre-K through 4th grade.
During the design process, Huckabee worked with teachers from each program area to develop a vision and plan for the facility. Staff shared ideas with the design team, creating ideal use for each space and talking through technology use, energy efficient solutions and design concepts. From windows in each learning space, to flexible-use activity rooms with kid-friendly colors and furniture, to whiteboards and technology access in the classrooms, the facility is an ideal space for primary instruction.
A unique feature of the facility is a flexible-use room in the library. Large, posh bean bags create the ideal space to lounge with a book, and a brightly lit ceiling feature gives students the feeling that they are “under water,” looking up into the ocean as turtles swim by.