The new elementary school, currently known as Elementary School No. 7, will be constructed on the northern part of a tract of land owned by the school district east of the Siena neighborhood and south of Green Haven Ranch. Eventually a new middle school will be constructed on the same portion of land, according to Jessica Molter, an architectural project manager for Pfluger Architects.
Molter said that Pfluger Architects has worked on every school and facility project for the district since 1985. Its last project, Howard Norman Elementary, opened in August and was the last version of the former elementary school prototype for the district. ES 7, which will be the largest elementary school in the district, will be the first version of the new design which officials are hoping to carry forward into the future as more schools develop.
HISD recently adopted a project-based education method, and the new school was designed to support that strategy.
“We’ve designed spaces into the project that allow for the classrooms to expand out and become common spaces so that students can work collaboratively between classes and teachers can work collaboratively between one another,” Molter said.
The design is intended to allow teachers and students to have space to work outside of traditional classrooms in the areas termed “collaboration neighborhoods.”
Each collaboration neighborhood has resources, such as technology and science equipment, to allow the students to work in their areas without having to travel around the school. There will also be flexible furniture, such as bean bags and stools, to give the students space to learn outside of chair desks. Teachers will have the ability to configure the furniture into group settings.
Molter said initial plans for the school were a result of several meetings of a committee formed from HISD staff from various departments, including teaching, administration, janitorial, food services, security and health. The committee toured other local projects that supported project-based learning and provided input on the design and layout of ES 7.
The district accepted public nominations for the school’s name through Feb. 2. A groundbreaking ceremony will take place Feb. 12. The school is expected to be complete May 12, 2019.
UPDATE: The Hutto ISD Board of Trustees voted Feb. 8 to name the school Benjamin Doc Kerley Elementary.