After a brief delay by winter weather, construction at the site of the new Sealy Elementary School resumed late last week as members of the Sealy ISD school board and members of the committee that played a part in putting the project together toured the site.
Sealy ISD Project Manager Mike Zapalac and Project Superintendent Les Sturm briefed the members on the status of the construction before leading a tour. Zapalac pointed out four corners of the building as “pods” that will house two grade levels to help increase collaboration.
“We’ve created spaces that make it so when you walk through, the collaborative spaces are very open and help facilitate it and of course we’ll have state-of-the-art technology in the classrooms that will help with that as well,” Zapalac said.
Zapalac said the project is forecasted to have a less than 1 percent increase in spending from $29,484,000 to $29,518,000but that small difference is still within the bond scope so it hasn’t affected funding or construction.
The school is 108,000 square feet which is an 8,000-foot increase from the original plan but Zapalac said the increase will just allow the school to make the most out of their money. He also said the school will have several entry ways that will help facilitate traffic for drop-off and pick-up.
“There will be a main passenger drop-off entrance to the west and there will be a separate one for bus drop-off to help keep them separate,” Zapalac said. “We’ll be able to stack 185 vehicles by the way we route them so that should reduce and eliminate any congestion on 2187.”
As for the building itself, the corners of the building are large collaborative areas being referred to as pods. There will be one for the pre-K, kindergarten and first graders, second and third graders and fourth and fifth graders. Each area will have several spacious classrooms were large windows not only looking outdoors but another looking into a community area outside.
“Having this open environment and natural light will not only help teachers keep an eye on the children but it will facilitate communication and collaboration and I know the kids are just going to love it,” Superintendent Sheryl Moore said.
The middle of the school will have more classrooms, the cafeteria and the library. The placement of the library as a central part of the school was one done on purpose to help the library feel like a more natural part of the building that encourages students to enter.
“Kids should be able to come and go and it should be a beautiful part of the school and be at the heart of everything,” Moore said.
The recent winter weather did cause a small delay in the construction process which has already been dealing with delays from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in fall 2017. Moore said the delays are pushing the finalization of a starting day for school next fall.
“The hard date for us possessing the building is Aug. 28 because they have sanctions in place if it’s not done by then but we don’t want to start school on Sept. 4, ideally we’re shooting to have possession by Aug. 1,” Moore said. “That way we can go in and make sure it’s up and ready because it’s like when you move into a house until you move in, you don’t know what you’ll need and it’s perfectly normal but we need some time to figure those things out.”
Moore said a start date will likely be selected sometime in April.