Former L.D. Robinson Pavilion to become facility for special education, professional development

The former L.D. Robinson Pavilion will house a special education program and meeting rooms for professional development. (Rendering courtesy VLK Architects/Katy ISD)
The former L.D. Robinson Pavilion will house a special education program and meeting rooms for professional development. (Rendering courtesy VLK Architects/Katy ISD)

The former L.D. Robinson Pavilion will house a special education program and meeting rooms for professional development. (Rendering courtesy VLK Architects/Katy ISD)

Image description
VLK Architects is the project designer for the repurposing of the former L.D. Robinson Pavilion. (Rendering courtesy VLK Architects/Katy ISD)
The new design plan for the former L.D. Robinson Pavilion was approved by Katy ISD board of trustees at the regular March 30 board meeting.

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 response

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.”
By Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. She covers education, transportation, local government, business and development in the Katy area.


Heading into Thanksgiving, Texas Medical Center continues to report uptick in hospitalizations

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Texas Medical Center facilities has increased by more than 50% over two weeks.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

The latest Fort Bend County coronavirus updates from the week of Nov. 13-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend County hospital leaders warn of increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations

Fort Bend County Health & Human Services reported 685 new cases of the coronavirus Nov. 13-19, a 135% increase in the number of new cases compared to the week prior.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Shake Shack opened its new standalone location at The Woodlands Mall in November. (Courtesy Christine Han)
Shake Shack opens in The Woodlands Mall and more Houston-area updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

Katy-area business owners adapt to COVID-19

“I want to thank the community for supporting us and shopping local,” Ebrecht said. “It’s been really amazing. We were surprised that we didn’t fall that far behind last year’s sales, even through all of this.”

Buffalo Bayou report draws some local criticism

Concepts that appeared to be early frontrunners included a new reservoir and dam structure in the Cypress Creek watershed and 22 miles of deepening and widening Buffalo Bayou, both of which would alleviate strain on the Addicks and Barker reservoirs during heavy rainfall events.

The Skeeters will be the first-ever independent baseball league team to become an MLB team's Triple-A affiliate. (Courtesy Sugar Land Skeeters)
Sugar Land Skeeters selected as Triple-A affiliate for Houston Astros

In joining the Houston Astros organization, the Sugar Land Skeeters will be the first-ever independent baseball league team to become an MLB team's Triple-A affiliate.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if “a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

Campuses can now instate a hybrid or fully remote instruction model for up to 14 days if adequate instructional staffing is not possible due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees.

Car Scientist now open in Katy area

Car Scientist at 5959 FM 1463, Katy, is now open.