North Belt Elementary will be one of the first elementary schools rebuilt with the play-based learning design, which educators believe will lead to greater student participation. (Courtesy of Humble ISD)
At the Humble ISD school board meeting on May 11, PBK Architects presented the board with preliminary architectural renderings of the reconstruction of the North Belt Elementary School and the new detention pond at the Humble High School complex.
A game-based learning design
The district was able to add the rebuilding of North Belt Elementary to the District Bond Referendum of $ 575 million starting in 2018 due to unanticipated savings from sub-budget bond projects.
North Belt Elementary is located at 8105 North Belt Drive in Humble on 10.7 acres; the new $ 38 million school will be on 27 acres at the southeast corner of Old Humble and Bender roads.
Jeff Chapman, senior project manager for PBK, said his team focused on conserving most of the trees, creating a winding driveway, and designing forest-like features for the building, such as a green roof and stone accents. The campus will also include a virtual learning academy, where teachers can film educational programs for in-person and virtual learning.
“What we really wanted to achieve with this look is to really understand where this property is,” Chapman said.
Additionally, North Belt Elementary will be one of the first elementary schools in the district being rebuilt to feature a game-based learning concept, which includes interactive modules with different themes such as rainforest, marine life and the moon. HISD officials said they believe this game-based design, paired with natural lighting, will lead to higher student engagement.
Administrator Keith Lapeze said it would be interesting to measure whether the new building will have an effect on North Belt Elementary’s student body as students move from campus to campus.
“We’ll see old North Belt with this rickety old building – which we all know was so close to being in the Last Link – at this just amazing facility,” he says. “I would love to see the effect of that, and if there is a measurable effect, then it is a game changer.”
Centennial Elementary School, which opened in August, was also built with a similar design style. Here, Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said discipline data is “fundamentally non-existent.” Fagen said the district should be able to measure the effect of designs on engagement and participation.
“I think we’re going to see a commitment; I think we’re going to see participation; I think we’re going to see improved scores in all arenas,” she said.
However, Lapeze said that since Centennial Elementary opened in August with its first group of students, the campus does not offer comparable data on the effect that game-based learning environments can have on the community. student engagement.
However, Lakeland Primary School is also being rebuilt with play-based learning and is slated to open in August. Elementary schools in Lakeland and North Belt might be good places to study this, Lapeze said.
“I think that could be valid data on which we can judge the environmental effect on learning,” he said.
Improvement of the retention basin at Humble
Meanwhile, PBK Architects also presented an option for the retention pond which will be located at the corner of Rustic Timbers Drive and Will Clayton Parkway in Humble.
The basin will serve the four schools at the intersection, including Humble High School, the $ 8.98 million Guy M. Sconzo Early College High School, Humble Middle School and Lakeland Elementary School.
Rather than turning it into a wet-bottom detention basin, district officials said they wanted to consider turning it into a wet-bottom detention basin. This means that it would largely appear to be a pond with features such as fountains, lights that can be changed to coordinate with different campus colors, a corner plaza to replace Turner Stadium’s current branding, and a walkway. pedestrian surrounding the pond.
Administrator Robert Sitton said the retention pond could also be used in creative and educational ways.
“What we looked at [the] construction and planning [committee], for example, is … transforming this into a great outdoor learning space, the pond could potentially become a fish hatchery for our agricultural departments, ”Sutton said.
To transform the basin into a wet-bottom basin with aesthetic features, district officials said it would cost an additional $ 2.2 million. In a telephone interview after the meeting, Nolan Correa, associate superintendent of operational support services at HISD, said funding could come from several places, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. , or the CARES Act, as well as partnerships with the Town of Humble or the County of Harris 4.
“We just know it would be a great facility for the community and the town of Humble,” he said. “So at this point, we’re just going to pursue all of these avenues to see where we could get the funding to provide this wonderful space.”