Sue Gratehouse Pope Elementary Wins Five 'Stars of Distinction'

VLK Architects' project recently received Stars of Distinction Awards from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) on Sue Gratehouse Pope Elementary, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. The first new elementary for the Bridgeland community received honors in five areas of distinction: Community, Design, Value, Sustainability, and School Transformation.'''

'The Bridgeland community and CFISD are extremely pleased with the VLK Architecture team for designing a beautiful, innovative and sustainable school. Pope Elementary is an example of how building design can enhance learning opportunities.' said Cypress-Fairbanks Superintendent, Dr. Mark Henry.

The two-story facility not only provides students views of the lake located across the street, but also offers separate learning levels for each grade. The Pre-K through second graders are located on the first level, while the third through fifth graders are housed on the second level. Designed for 21st century learning, the older students have access to the school's collaborative learning spaces via flex areas and their classrooms feature sliding glass doors to showcase the transparency embraced in the learning style. Serving all students in the school is a stone-form cylindrical resource and gathering area, designed to provide an interior commons area for students.

For VLK Architects, winning design awards is an honor but having the opportunity to create a design to share with these communities, and feel the excitement of students on the first day of school is more rewarding and meaningful.

'It's one thing to work through the detailed process of designing a building that you know will touch the lives of the community for generations to come.' said Steve Aloway, VLK Principal. 'It's another and a more amazing feeling to be standing next to Ms. Pope, the namesake of the school, on the first day of class and see the students pressed against the door waiting for it to open as they excitedly anticipate the wonderful educational adventures that await them on the inside.'