Garden Oaks Montessori is among 40 HISD schools being renovated or rebuilt across the district as part of the voter-approved 2012 Bond Program, and officials joined students, teachers and Principal Lindsey Pollock last week to formally break ground. Plans for the $26.7 million project include new and renovated classroom spaces, a new multipurpose gymnasium, a secure and defined main entrance, additional parking, and bus and parent drop-off driveways.
Community support was evident as dozens of neighbors, parents, and HISD leadership turned out. Entertainment was provided by the Waltrip High School Jazz band and the Garden Oaks Montessori Leadership Choir.
Garden Oaks students also assembled outside to watch, including the ceremonial groundbreaking complete with shovels and hardhats. “We’re going to have a lot more students and more room,” Garden Oaks 5thgrader Athena Atkinson said. “I think it’s going to be really great.”
HISD Board of Education Trustee Anna Eastman recalled the challenges she faced when turning the neighborhood elementary school with a Montessori program into a full-fledged Montessori school in 2011. “It was worth every ounce of effort,” said Eastman, noting the school continues to attract a waiting list of students every year. With the enrollment growth and the recent creation of a middle-school program, the addition and renovations couldn’t come at a better time.
At Garden Oaks, foundation work is well underway for the first addition, and utilities
are scheduled to start soon. “I’m thrilled. It’s just going to be beautiful,” said Brenda de Alba, who served on the school’s Project Advisory Team and is a member of the Garden Oaks Civic Club. “It’s going to benefit the neighborhood.”
“The new construction will help our students by providing ‘right-sized’ classrooms to accommodate the Montessori methodology,” Pollock added. “Our children benefit from a free-flowing environment where students are able to work in small groups and independently with hands-on Montessori materials. Spaces for music, art, science labs and robotics along with an indoor gymnasium will expand students’ learning experiences. It’s a dream for the future, come true.”