VLK Architects Breaks Ground on Waller ISD's New Jones Replacement Elementary School


Prairie View, Texas - On August 3rd, VLK Architects attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Waller ISD's newest replacement school, Herman T. Jones Elementary. Administrators, school board members, and city officials were in attendance to commemorate the construction of this new facility.

In 2015, the Waller community voted to approve a bond referendum of $71,320,000 that included not only the construction of this replacement school, but also renovations to the CTE Facility, a new Ag Science Center at Waller High, additions and renovations to Roberts Road Elementary, and a new track, and new tennis courts at W.C. Schultz Junior High.

'Herman T. Jones Elementary is a new, one-story prototype design for Waller ISD. The library is centered in the heart of the building, adjacent to several rooms that allow for flexibility in their use, including the large group instruction,' said Melissa Fleming, VLK Project Director. 'The classroom and corridor design offer collaborative spaces that allow for dynamic learning opportunities. The classrooms have built-in workstations for teachers and student storage cubbies with charging stations above for students and their devices. All classrooms have a conjoined door to one other classroom to allow for shared supervision and opportunities for classes to collaborate. The corridors are designed to allow for natural daylight to fill the interior of the building via clerestory windows.'

The design for this new facility was conceptualized and crafted out of a joint collaboration of several different groups. Waller ISD administration, the City of Prairie View, the Citizen's Planning Committee, the City of Waller, and VLK Architects came together collectively to make the dreams of this new replacement school a reality.

'This has been one of the greatest community efforts that I have seen in my 49 years of living,' said Dr. Michael Prince, Waller ISD Board Member. 'We are not nave to the history that makes up this county that we love, and to see people come together to speak as one voice, that our children get the greatest opportunity to compete with the rest of the world, moves me beyond measure. I consider myself blessed to be a part of this movement.'

The daughter of the namesake, Patricia Naylor, gave a moving speech about the importance of this school, the legacy of her father, Herman T. Jones, and the impact this new facility is going to make on future generations.

'This is very emotional for me. I am just so proud that we have the opportunity to give our future leaders a new school. It is just amazing! As Maya Angelou said, 'If you're going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can't be erased,' and my father, Herman T. Jones, has made his mark. I look forward to coming back for the ribbon cutting ceremony!' said Naylor.

'We are excited that construction is well underway for Waller ISD's new Herman T. Jones Elementary School, said Todd Lien, AIA, VLK Principal. 'Based on the outpouring of support from the district and surrounding Waller and Prairie View communities, we truly believe this new elementary school will have a profound impact on every student that walks through its doors for the next 50 years. Waller ISD operates very much like a family and VLK feels thankful to be welcomed in and given the opportunity to design a dynamic facility for an even more dynamic community.

Jones Elementary will be 109,610sf and is set to open in the fall of 2017. The school is set on a 28 acre site and will serve 750 students in grades kindergarten through 5.