(Keller, Texas) – This week, VLK Architects, Buford Thompson Construction, and community members and associates of Keller Independent School District joined in celebrating the dedication ceremonies of the new Florence Elementary and Heritage Elementary replacement schools.
In January 2020, the KISD Board of Trustees approved the design development of the new FES and HES campuses from VLK Architects as part of the 2019 Bond package. This bond provides $315 M for capital improvements.
“From the beginning when the community first envisioned these buildings, to the current time when students, staff, and parents are able to fully appreciate the new instructional spaces, VLK has been with us every step of the way,” said Dr. Rick Westfall, Superintendent of Keller ISD. “Even with all the challenges that COVID, winter weather, and the typical delays we experienced, the contractors along with VLK got us to the finish line. We look forward to many more great projects to come.”
Florence Elementary was built in 1975 and is Keller ISD’s oldest Pre-K through fourth-grade campus. The 2019 Bond envisioned the new replacement school on the existing campus site. The space on the remaining property allowed for the construction of the new campus without interrupting existing buildings. The scheduled completion date was July 2021. December 2021 is the finalized completion date of the remaining site work and demolition of the old school.
Heritage Elementary School came to Keller in 1987 and continues to hold students in kindergarten through third grade. This project also involved the new school’s construction on the previous campus’ location. Existing space on the property was available to construct the new campus without affecting the existing buildings. January 2022 is the estimated date for the completion of the work on-site and the demolition of the previous school.
“Florence and Heritage are legacy projects for KISD and VLK,” said Sloan Harris, CEO | Partner of VLK Architects. “We have partnered with KISD for three decades now, delivering on exponential growth, and now returning to the older campuses and bringing them into the next generation of learning environments is so incredibly rewarding because of the deep culture, heart, and soul these campuses exude.”
Both schools feature multiple areas with learning environments with a centralized, open library. In addition, each building contains huddle rooms for small groups, design labs for each grade level, collaboration areas in each grade pod for project teamwork, and additional instructional space. Florence Elementary and Heritage Elementary will be the first two projects to be completed from the 2019 Bond.
“We thank the district, campus leadership, and staff for the incredible job of opening the campuses for the start of school given the unprecedented circumstances with COVID-19, record rain seasons, labor and material shortages, and the February winter freeze,” said Harris.