Webb Elementary students are getting a new school right next door to their current building, and they have a front-row seat to watch the construction!
“The students are very observant of the daily changes and progress as the days go by,” said Webb Principal Evelyn Navarro-Gaspar.
And they’re excited, she said. But while the new school building will be a tremendous upgrade over the current facility that opened in 1960, the first graders are mostly excited about new playgrounds.
Webb is the first of four school replacements funded by the 2019 Bond, an effort to modernize the district’s schools and revitalize their neighborhoods. Webb’s current site is large enough that the new building is being built on the property while the current building remains open.
“Webb already has outstanding students and teachers,” said Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos. “They are known for their generosity and involvement in the community, from singing at nursing homes to raising money for the Arlington Life Shelter. This new school building is designed to match that spirit and give these students every opportunity to succeed and excel.”
Construction kicked off back in April with a groundbreaking ceremony where Webb students in hard hats helped turn the ceremonial dirt. But their involvement in the new school actually started a year earlier when they assisted architects with the design. At a design charrette hosted by the architect, students and parents offered their input on how the new site should lay out and how they envision their “dream classroom.” They also discussed and gave feedback on outdoor spaces, the media center (library) and dining area.
Now, that dream school is under construction. It’s still early in the process with foundations, underground utilities and subsurface retention ponds underway.
“Upcoming activities for the next two weeks include placement of grade beams at Area D, installation of the raised floor deck at the kitchen, and further work on the storm shelter (gym) foundations,” said Jim Evans, Arlington ISD’s project manager over the construction.
Though many months of construction remain, district staff and the architects are also planning for and procuring the FFE (furniture, fixtures and equipment) for the library, fine arts and special education.
The end result will be a beautiful new school, but it’s never easy to go through construction. However, the process has been as smooth as possible so far.
“As the principal, I am grateful the north drive was finished in time to use it the first day of school for dismissal,” Navarro-Gaspar said. “I am grateful for everyone’s patience (staff, parents, visitors) during our arrival and dismissal processes. Our focus is the end result next year, so as we encounter challenges, we always remind ourselves they are just temporary! Jim Evans and his crew have been amazing in putting the Webb staff and students’ safety first.”
Once the new facility is finished in the fall of 2022, the Webb students and teachers will just move in from next door. Then, starting in the summer of 2022, the current Webb building will be demolished.