Future Middle School #8 students Sydnie Harrison, from left, Pauline Ocharo and Kamryn Lincoln sign the beam for their new school, while LeAnderay Collins and Quinten Starks wait their turn.
HOUSTON – Oct. 25, 2018 – Members of the Spring ISD community gathered Thursday morning to celebrate construction work on the district’s Middle School #8 during a beam-signing ceremony held at Northgate Crossing Elementary School, next door to the new campus. Originally scheduled to take place on the construction site itself, the ceremony was moved indoors due to wet weather. It was a last-minute change in plans that the new school’s principal, Kimberly Culley, said was fitting.
“I was thinking this morning about how Northgate Crossing Elementary is the school that most of the kids at the new middle school campus are going to come from,” Culley said, “so it’s good that we’re having it here, in a way. The foundation for this project actually started in this school, in this community.”
The beam-signing program featured student entertainment from the Northgate Crossing Elementary choir – under the direction of music teacher Laura Mills – along with remarks from Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson, Board President Rhonda Newhouse and Culley. Also representing the district were Trustees Winford Adams Jr., Donald Davis and Jana Gonzales.
Culley’s father, Sgt. Mike Evans of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, was on hand to offer an invocation, and two Twin Creeks Middle School students – Alexia Mougoue and Sofia Barela – also addressed the audience, expressing their own excitement about moving to the new campus next fall.
“We know today is a very special day for the entire district,” Watson told those gathered for the ceremony, “but especially for the students who will have an opportunity to go into this new building. That new middle school will not only provide a beautiful location and beautiful amenities, but also it will amplify and fulfill a promise that we made to this community.”
The event was attended by friends of the district, principals and other administrators, local business representatives, and parents and grandparents of current students who will be zoned to the new school once it opens. Local resident Warren Woolsey has four students in Spring ISD – two at Northgate Crossing Elementary and two at Twin Creeks Middle School, including one seventh grader who will most likely attend the new campus next year.
“We’re excited about it,” Woolsey said. “We live right down the road here in this neighborhood, so we’re really looking forward to being able to have the kids walk to school rather than going all the way down Aldine Westfield Road to get to Twin Creeks.”
Woolsey himself had the opportunity, while growing up, to attend two newly opened campuses, and he said his children are looking forward to having a similar experience at the district’s new middle school.
“That first class that goes through, that first group of kids, really has a lot of determination in the future of the school. They really set the tone for how the school is going to go forward,” Woolsey said.
The new campus will directly serve families in the northernmost part of Spring ISD, while also alleviating overcrowding at other district middle schools once revised attendance boundaries go into effect. The project is part of Spring ISD’s $330 million bond program approved by voters in 2016, which, in addition to the new middle school, includes a replacement campus for Roberson Middle School, a replacement district stadium, three ninth-grade centers, and renovations at other schools, as well as districtwide safety, security and technology upgrades.
“As I look into the crowd, I see many familiar faces of people who always turn out to support Spring ISD,” Newhouse said during her remarks. “On behalf of the entire board, those here and not here, we are very grateful for your support.”
Newhouse went on to touch on a few of the recent milestones around the district.
“Over the past five months,” she said, “we’ve been going through so much progress on our bond program. We had two groundbreaking ceremonies; we had a demolition ceremony; we’ve had a ribbon-cutting ceremony; and now a beam-signing ceremony. All of this excitement really sparks and speaks to the forward momentum of our district and highlights so many of the positive changes that we are seeing.”
Slated to open next year, the Middle School #8 campus is being built initially to accommodate 725 students, but includes space for future additions if enrollment grows. The campus will feature daylit classrooms structured around flexible learning areas to encourage collaboration and project-based experiences.
According to Rayce Boyter of Stantec Architects – the firm designing the campus – the new school will feature a host of 21st-century elements to support both learning and instruction.
“It’s a lot of work,” Boyter said of the design and building process, “but what’s really exciting is when you start to see the students and the kids get really excited about their new building and their new facility. And really, the first day when school opens, there’s nothing better than that. That’s when it all comes together, and kids are overjoyed, and learning and teaching starts, and it’s really incredible.”
With the community eagerly awaiting the new school’s opening, Culley is already hard at work collaborating with parents and community members to develop the best program possible to serve students.
“Right now,” Culley said, “a lot of what I’m doing is meeting with departments and meeting with parents who want to come and visit and talk about what they want to see in a school. I’m really trying to listen to the students and listen to the parents about what they want from their new school.”
Having been with the district since 2007, most recently as Principal at Smith Elementary, Culley is looking forward to this new chapter in her own professional life and in the life of Spring ISD.
“I believe in Spring, I really do, and I’m committed to it. The thing that I’m most excited about with what we’re building is that it’s really the students’ campus; it’s the community’s campus. You know, we’re Spring ISD, but it’s for our kids.”