Continuing the Legacy of Azle Elementary and Walnut Creek Elementary
Azle, Texas ' Thursday, June 29th marked an exciting day for Azle ISD and VLK Architects as the district broke ground on two new elementary schools. Azle and Walnut Creek Elementary School's replacement facilities are under construction and scheduled to open August 2018.
In 2010, VLK completed a districtwide facilities condition assessment providing information on Azle ISD's buildings and assisting the Citizen's Committee in prioritizing those in need of renovation or replacement. While their current campuses will be renovated to accommodate proper space for district administration, daycare, and other district programs, it became VLK's charge to design two new elementary schools that embrace modern educational practices, yet still honor the rich legacy of each campus.
'Both Walnut Creek and Azle Elementary are going to be state-of-the-art campuses and we are very proud,' said Tanya Anderson, Azle ISD Superintendent. 'Walnut Creek's motto is 'world changers' and we believe the students who will walk these halls will change the world for the better. Azle Elementary has a rich history and is an icon for the Azle community. Their motto is 'rock leaders,' and it's our goal to preserve that history and blaze a pathway for the future. We are so grateful to have such tremendous community support for our kids in Azle ISD and that's why we're here, it's for the kids.'
Walnut Creek's replacement facility will be constructed on the southeast corner of Azle High School's plot. The design team worked with the district to ensure continuity so that Walnut Creek respected and integrated into the high school campus. One way this was accomplished was by utilizing dark burnished blocks and white aluminum composite panels that are showcased on Azle High School's exterior gym and CTE walls. The new Walnut Creek Elementary will accommodate up to 690 kindergarten through 4th grade students and will feature maker spaces, a learning commons that replaces a typical library design, and collaboration spaces, creating a new facility that is ideal for 21st Century instruction and STEM based subjects. The main building at the existing Walnut Creek campus will not go vacant being renovated to become the new home of Azle's Hornet Academy and DAEP, or District Alternative Education Program.
Charlie Geren, Texas House of Representatives Member for District 99 was in attendance and spoke briefly about how these replacement schools will match the great reputation of Azle ISD. 'The support the community and Tarrant County has given to the bond and these projects has been incredible. It's a great community with a great school district, and now they are going to have great facilities,' said Geren.' With its abundance of natural light, open learning commons, and various types of collaborative spaces, the new replacement Azle Elementary will serve 750 students and will also feature a rock exterior in honor of the original Azle Elementary, known as 'the rock.' The decision was made to replace the cherished school which is the oldest facility in the district and renovate the original building to become the district's daycare and administration facility.
'What I love most about Azle ISD is that they never settle for the status quo. It's always about the students and that makes their district a great partner for us because we are motivated by the students as well,' said Clinton Schiver, VLK Principal. 'These new elementary schools will uphold the legacy of Azle ISD and create new traditions that will impact future generations for many years to come.'