Friendswood ISD moves forward with planning for new Cline Elementary campus

FISD leaders took young learners' ideas into account in the planning of a new Cline Elementary School campus. (Courtesy Friendswood ISD, PBK Architects)
FISD leaders took young learners' ideas into account in the planning of a new Cline Elementary School campus. (Courtesy Friendswood ISD, PBK Architects)

FISD leaders took young learners' ideas into account in the planning of a new Cline Elementary School campus. (Courtesy Friendswood ISD, PBK Architects)

Friendswood ISD leaders and partnering architects have made progress in development for the new Cline Elementary School campus after touring various facilities and consulting stakeholders of all ages for feedback.

FISD issued its bonds from the November election Jan. 27. Based on the resulting interest cost being significantly lower than expected, the projected tax impact of the bond on the debt service tax rate will be considerably lower than the $0.10 approved by voters, according to a media release from the district’s business department.

The bond funds will be used for $128 million worth of construction, safety and technology projects, including replacement of the existing Cline campus. The Cline project kicked off Nov. 30, and benchmarking tours, programming meetings and district standards meetings have taken place since. Officials with Houston-based PBK Architects presented benchmarking tour and meeting results Jan. 25 after two intensive design meetings in early January.

After touring elementary campuses around Texas and surveying teachers and students, district leaders and architects compiled a list of common desired characteristics for the new facility. Superintendent Thad Roher said walking through campuses and seeing how other educational institutions are using their space was a very powerful experience.

Officials gleaned from building tours that the idea of a more open-concept library called a “learning commons” would be worth exploring further.

“That really opened up our minds to the possibilities,” Roher said of seeing schools with open-concept learning commons spaces.

Some opportunities for improvement as defined by teachers include more options for flexibility and personalization of both classrooms and furniture as well as different options for collaboration. Some of these desires could be met with the learning commons space; other campuses officials found attractive included ones with multilevel common areas.

Other similar desired themes include the use of natural-looking materials and glass on exterior-facing walls. Students also drew floor plans, and officials used those to see which spaces students seemed to be most excited about based on which spaces they drew taking up the most of the floor plan. These included cafeterias, gymnasiums and libraries.

The current Cline floor plan allows for collaboration between teachers, ensuring both a close physical proximity to those in the same grade levels and adding collaboration spaces for this same purpose, officials said.

PBK continues to meet with Executive Director of Maintenance and Operations Erich Kreiter weekly to compose and refine the district’s standards as they relate to elements of the construction process. West Ranch subdivision developers have been invited to participate in the process as well so FISD can keep developers informed and seek their feedback, but the developers have not engaged in the process thus far, Roher said.

Some considerations for the campus came from lessons learned during the pandemic. COVID-19 and its limitations on educational experiences highlighted the need for consideration of an outdoor amphitheater in addition to an outdoor learning environment or outdoor classroom space. Outdoor learning and exploration is equally as important as the indoor spaces for young learners, trustees and architects said. One element discussed for new playgrounds included movable pieces, which would rotate between campuses and give students new places to play.

One facet of the outdoor learning environment could eventually include gardens, but FISD officials agreed the establishment of those would need to come later as they must be a sustained, campuswide commitment—not something taken on by one or even several enthusiastic parents or community members—to be truly successful.

Bond funds will also be used for classroom additions to Westwood Elementary, Windsong Intermediate and Bales Intermediate schools. Spaces at Westwood should be transformed with these same ideas of open space, collaboration and flexible learning environments, especially to maintain a sense of equity between the two campuses, trustee Laura Seifert said.

“We want it to drive out what's next for Westwood, Bales, when the time comes,” she said of the new campus, adding it will serve as a model for innovation across other district spaces and uphold the expectation of FISD providing the best experiences to students. “That's what we love about Friendswood is parents want the very best for their kids.”

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.


Burger Nation opened its Pearland location in mid-June. (Courtesy Burger Nation)
Burger Nation opens Pearland location

The Pearland restaurant is the third location for the business.

Clear Lake High School basketball players and Clear Lake City Elementary students during a Character Court session. (Courtesy of Clear Creek ISD)
Two Clear Creek ISD high schools receive national recognition for character development programs

Cleat Lake and Clear Brook high schools received 2021 Promising Practice designations from for their character development programs.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Hospital system reports 2.2% positivity rate, down 13% year to date

COVID-19 patient numbers at medical center hospitals are down to 309 from the over 2,000 patients those same hospitals were housing in January.

Pet Supplies Plus opened in Friendswood in June.
Pet Supplies Plus opens in Friendswood

The business opened June 4 and will celebrate its grand opening July 10-11.

The text of General Order No. 3, which Gordon Granger issued from Galveston in June 1865 to explicitly liberate enslaved Black Texans, runs across the bottom of the mural. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘I am filled’: Houston-Galveston area celebrates first Juneteenth as federal holiday

See how local policymakers, historians, artists and philanthropists honored the Juneteenth holiday at its birthplace with the dedication of a 5,000-square-foot mural.

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

There will be various events across the Houston area celebrating the Fourth of July, including League City's Fireworks Extravaganza. (Courtesy of League City)
12 Fourth of July weekend events, celebrations to attend in the Greater Houston area

Here are 12 Fourth of July weekend events throughout the Houston region.

When he is not on the UHCL campus, Delgado is employed part-time as a legal assistant at Travis Bryan Law Group and is also a firefighter with the Pasadena Volunteer Fire Department. (Courtesy University of Houston-Clear Lake)
University of Houston system appoints first-ever University of Houston-Clear Lake Hawk as student regent

Derek Delgado, who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in legal studies at UHCL, will work directly with other student governments throughout the university system and help advocate for student needs.

A new Jersey Mike's Subs location opened April 28 in the Richardson Square development. (Courtesy Jersey Mike's Subs)
Jersey Mike's opens new Pearland location

Jersey Mike’s opened its location at 9811 W. Broadway St., Ste. 121, Pearland.

Paris Coffee Co. serves coffees, espresso drinks and Italian sodas. (courtesy Pexels)
Paris Coffee Co. opens permanent coffee kiosk in Pearland

The business serves coffees, espresso drinks and Italian sodas.