FBISD approves schematics for Lakeview rebuild, preserves historic gym facade

The 1932 gym facade, which will be preserved in the rebuild, can be seen in this photo from 2019-20 school year.
The 1932 gym facade, which will be preserved in the rebuild, can be seen in this photo from 2019-20 school year.

The 1932 gym facade, which will be preserved in the rebuild, can be seen in this photo from 2019-20 school year.

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The gym at Lakeview Elementary School, built in 1932, is being repurposed as part of the library and cafeteria. The rest of the school building will be torn down and rebuilt.
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In this photo from the 1940s, the gym can be seen on the left-hand side behind two trees, which still stand today.
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This aerial photo of the Lakeview campus was taken prior to 1936. The gym is the apex building of the right-hand semi-circle.
The 101-year-old Lakeview Elementary School will keep the facade of its gym, even as the rest of the building is completely rebuilt.

FBISD’s board of trustees approved the schematics for the redesign at the Oct. 21 regular board meeting. The project, which is part of the 2018 FBISD bond, will cost the district $31.8 million.

“I believe the design approved by the Board represents the collective best effort of the community-based committee, staff, and architect,” Superintendent Charles Dupre said in an email. “Through all their efforts, Lakeview’s history will be well preserved.”

Lakeview Elementary was constructed in 1917, with the most recent rebuild occurring in 1964. The oldest part of the existing school is the gym, which was built during a 1932 expansion, said Chuck Kelly, who volunteers with the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.

The historic gym will be repurposed as part of the cafeteria and library. To one side of the school, a cluster of administrative offices will be constructed, and to the other, extracurricular classrooms and a new gym will be built. Kindergarten and first- and second-grade classrooms will be adjacent to the administrative offices and wrap around an outside courtyard. A second floor will be added for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms.

Grayle James, the only school board member to vote against approving the schematics, said keeping the gym as a gym was a priority for members of the community she had spoken with.

“I guess I voted no because ... it wasn’t clear to me where the heart of the school was going to be, and I felt sad or nostalgic to have the gym not be a gym anymore,” said James, whose children went to Lakeview.

Dupre said the design firm, Kirksey Architecture, was chosen because of its expertise with historic structures.

Kelly said while the heritage foundation does not have an official reaction to the rebuild, he is happy the district is preserving the gym’s facade.

“It’s difficult to preserve buildings, especially difficult if you can’t repurpose them for future use,” Kelly said. “I thank God that they are keeping at least the facade of the building.”

While she voted no on the proposed schematics, James said she thinks a rebuild of the Lakeview campus is necessary due to the school’s long layout and required maintenance work.

“I absolutely think a rebuild was the best option,” James said. “We’re going forward with that, and we have a schematic design now that’s approved by the board, and it’s okay. I voted against it, but I also recognize that the board approved it, so that’s how it works sometimes.”

Lakeview Elementary will be closed while the rebuild is in progress and students will start the 2020-21 school year at a different campus, although the decision as to which school will house students has not yet been made. FBISD is working to finalize design and construction documents before determining a timeline for the rebuild. District staff said the new building will open during the 2021-22 school year.


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