Amidst the hustle of commuters traveling along the Grand Parkway, a quiet parcel of prairieland sits in the middle of Bridgeland®. In the coming weeks, however, the space will look much like the master planned community it’s housed in – buzzing with activity from contractors and construction crews. The 127-acre area will soon find its purpose as the newest educational village in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD), boasting nearly 1 million square-feet of learning space for at least 5,912 students.
At four stories, high school 12 will stand alone on the east side of the site and mark its territory as the tallest CFISD academic building. When it opens for the 2017-2018 school year, students will find the school’s stocked with multi-purpose spaces, including an atrium that’s placed in the middle of the building and special seating areas along the stairwell.
United by pedestrian walkways, high school 12 will lead directly to middle school 20, opening date to be determined, and elementary 55, which is set to open along with the high school for the 2017-2018 school year.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the new era of campus construction tailored to 21st-Century learners,” said Dr. Mark Henry, Cy-Fair ISD’s Superintendent. “We will not simply build a multi-campus site in Bridgeland; we will create a community wherein all students will have the opportunity and resources to receive a world-class education.”
Although it’s a term that’s typically reserved for three-school campuses where the buildings are connected by a common area, Roy Sprague, Associate Superintendent of Facilities, Construction & Support Services at CFISD, says the term ‘educational village’ still applies to the campus that’s being built in Bridgeland. In fact, as a nod to the traditional concept, kindergarten through eighth grade students will share a cafeteria. During the day, the space will be divided by a folding partition, with half of the space for K-5th graders, and the other portion for older students. After school hours, however, the movable partition can be opened, providing a large, multipurpose space.
“Even though there is not a physical connection between all the campuses, we have positioned the high school building close to the elementary and middle schools for mentoring and collaboration opportunities between the three campuses,” Sprague said.
In lieu of an enclosed space that’s used as a common area, students will find that their schools are linked by a resource that’s abundant in Bridgeland – green space.
“The outdoor learning area is really the connection to all three campuses,” Sprague said. “It also provides a nice link between the campus and housing in Bridgeland, where there are walkways and jogging trails nearby.”
Through these closely connected campuses, CFISD’s goal is to provide mentorship and leadership opportunities for older students, while also assisting younger students with the transition from elementary to middle, and middle to high school.
As Bridgeland does throughout its master plan, CFISD is focused on designing, constructing and operating environmentally-responsive, energy efficient facilities. Consequently, all three schools will be built to the Collaborative for High Performance School (CHPS) Texas standards. CHPS is a non-profit organization with a mission to fundamentally change the construction of schools by encouraging the conservation of energy, water and the reduction of waste, pollution and environmental degradation.
“Like Bridgeland’s first on-site school, Pope Elementary, this new educational village is thoughtfully planned and will stand as a true testament to the importance of creating eco-friendly designs,” said Peter Houghton, Vice President of Master Planned Communities at Bridgeland. “It’s exciting to think about the lasting impact these types of buildings will have on the students who pass through them.”
Pope and the three upcoming campuses are the first of nine planned schools that will eventually be nestled within the community. Lead by an extensive educational study conducted in 2008, the development’s “cradle-to-career” philosophy also includes plans for daycares, private facilities and opportunities for higher education.