Approximately 14,000 square feet of the 25,000-square-foot facility will be repurposed to become the new home for Project Teach Your Kids Early, or Project TYKE, which is part of the district’s special education department's early childhood intervention program, according to a presentation by Lisa Kassman, KISD’s executive director of facilities, planning and construction.
Additionally, about 10,000 square feet of the former pavilion will be devoted to professional development meeting rooms, Kassman said.
She did not specifically say what the remaining 1,000 square feet of the facility would be used for. However, according to the schematic design floor plan, the repurposed pavilion will also have restrooms, storage space, a kitchen, a mechanical room, a lounge area and a lobby.
VLK Architects Inc. is providing the design services for the approximately $5 million renovation project, per Kassman’s presentation. Construction bids will be selected in early summer. Construction is expected to begin in August with an anticipated project completion date of January 2021.
The L.D. Robinson Pavilion was built in 2004 near the Leonard Merrell Center, per meeting documents. It hosted the Katy ISD Future Farmers of America Livestock Show and Rodeo until February 2019, when the new $34 million Gerald D. Young Agricultural Sciences Center opened.
Board member Lance Redmon praised the design team for finding a new space for Project TYKE.
“Personally, Project TYKE affected my family,” Redmon said. “One of my kids was able to benefit from that service. ... And so I'm really excited ... that Project TYKE [will be] able to have a permanent home. ... I'm proud to be able to get that the home that it deserves.”
According to Kassman’s presentation, Project TYKE provides educational services to about 400 children per year with a medical condition, developmental delay or atypical development. Early childhood intervention programs service children from birth until three years old and are funded via federal and state grants, per the presentation and the district’s website.
Project TYKE currently operates out of portables located next door to Raines High School, 1732 Katyland Drive, Katy, Kassman said. Superintendent Ken Gregorski added that these portables are old and in need of repairs.
“The cost of fixing those portables or putting new ones out there was to the tune of about [$500,000-$750,000],” he said. “Not a real wise investment.”
Additionally, moving Project TYKE to the former L.D. Robinson Pavilion provides an opportunity to expand Raines High School’s programs, Gregorski said.
Board member Dawn Champagne said she was happy to see the pavilion will have space devoted to professional development, though she expressed interest in expanding the district’s career and technical education programs.
Gregorski said KISD considered this use, but when students took a survey related to KISD’s strategic design, the district found that only 3% reported interest in apprenticeship-type programs for heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as plumbing opportunities.
“We’ve been discussing [the repurposing of the former L.D. Robinson Pavilion] for about two years now with several things, and one of them is what [Champagne] brought up—the possibility of ... [a] skilled trades-type program in there,” he said. “We moved away from that. ... [Based on the survey,] the interest really isn’t there.”