HOUSTON – June 12, 2018 – The Spring Independent School District held its first official groundbreaking ceremony of the district’s $330 million bond program on Tuesday at the site of the new Roberson Middle School.
“This newly designed Roberson campus was made possible by the passage of our 2016 bond and the amazing support of our Spring ISD community,” said Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson, noting it’s a “wonderful opportunity to build a school that really fits the unique programs offered at Roberson.”
The event Tuesday drew teachers, students, administrators and community partners to a construction site at 12430 Veterans Memorial Drive. The 22-acre parcel already has a lot of activity as workers from Satterfield & Pontikes prepare the ground for the new 156,500-square-foot building.
Under a tent and against a backdrop of a backhoe and an excavator, the crowd was treated to several guitar selections from two rising 8th-graders from Roberson Middle School, under the direction of the campus Performing and Visual Arts Director Gene Swenson.
Thirteen-year-old Aaron Lopez will be in high school when the new campus opens for the 2019-20 school year, but he said he’s excited for all the students who will get to enjoy the new school, which will feature a 400-seat auditorium, an open-concept dining area, and learning areas for the school’s specialized programs, including agriculture, engineering, criminal justice and performing arts.
“It’s better than the old building,” Lopez said. ”It’s more modern and has bigger spaces. It looks more like a college campus.”
The design of the new campus is being led by the architectural firm of Huckabee but in close collaboration with the school’s teachers and administration. That design process, which included many meetings to gather ideas and feedback, drew praise on Tuesday from Principal Tracey Walker.
“To see an architect draw out in real-time our ideas about how we envision forensic science crime labs, guitar clinicals, gateways to technology and piano recitals was empowering,” she said. “To be introduced to a 21st century makerspace, a cutting edge food court, and furniture to be used as a gateway for learning and collaboration was eye-opening”
Claudia Zimmer, a teacher of agriculture and environmental science at Roberson, said that collaboration with Huckabee led to a great design for the science learning spaces, which include all the appropriate wet labs and cabinetry and will feature a greenhouse, set at the right orientation to the sun.
“They really listened as they sketched,” she said. “They were making sure it was all what we needed.”
Board President Rhonda Newhouse told attendees at Tuesday’s event that the groundbreaking at Roberson represents more than just the start of a construction project.
“It represents the beginning of our fulfillment of a promise, of our making good on a hope that our community has entrusted us with,” she said.
She thanked all of the supporters of the 2016 bond and pledged that progress will continue to be made as the district moves forward with all of its commitments under the $330 million program, designed to address long-standing district facility, technology, and safety and security needs of Spring ISD.
Specifically, the five-year bond program includes technology, and safety and security improvements, three ninth-grade centers, two middle schools, building maintenance projects, a new police command center and a replacement stadium to serve the entire district.
“We have more exciting bond events on the horizon,” Watson said. “So stay tuned for updates.”