Friendswood ISD to execute $128 million in renovations via bond funds

After voters approved a $128 million bond package in November, Friendswood ISD leaders began the process of executing renovations on four campuses and constructing a new 900-student elementary school.

“We’ve been entrusted with a lot of money from our taxpayers at a very difficult time,” Superintendent Thad Roher said during a Nov. 16 board meeting. “We want to do it right.”

Upcoming improvements as a result of the bond funds include classroom additions to Westwood Elementary School, Windsong Intermediate School and Bales Intermediate School, as well as renovations to Friendswood High School to address career and technical education, fine arts and athletics needs. The new elementary campus will be built on the West Ranch site owned by FISD and will replace the existing Cline Elementary School; the name will be kept to honor Conrad “Connie” Wanton Cline, district alumnus and former board president.

The new Cline campus will be finished first, according to schedules presented to the board by architecture firm PBK Architects Inc. in November. Planning has been taking place in the form of campus visits: Design committees have visited several area district buildings to analyze their features and give architects a chance to figure out the district’s needs for the new campus.

The campus will be substantially complete by May 2023, per the schedules, and renovations to Bales, Westwood and Windsong will be substantially complete by July 2023. The Friendswood High auditorium and gymnasium renovations will be substantially complete by July 2023, with the CTE renovations substantially complete by January 2024.

The district will partner with Houston-based PBK for planning, schematic design, development and construction, and the firm will receive input from design committees composed of FISD officials and board members.

District officials agreed the programming and planning phases, especially for the intermediate and high school campuses, will be essential to capture and implement a vision of what future educational needs could look like for students.

FISD could see changes in its enrollment numbers between now and the completion of the projects, board President Tony Hopkins said. The longer-term nature of the renovations is a positive in that the district may have to reassess the needs of its changing student population, he said.

“We don’t want the building to inhibit us, in 10 years, from what education is going to look like,” Roher said during a Dec. 7 workshop. “We don’t want anything to hamstring us into one area.”

The Cline design team will meet twice in mid-January, and the Friendswood High design team will begin meeting in February.
By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.


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