VLK Architects Contributes to Opening of Over 50 Campuses for the 2019-20 School Year

With great success, VLK Architects is proud to announce the completion of over 50 Texas public school campuses for 21 school districts for the 2019-20 school year. Utilizing the many tools in their repertoire, VLK has amassed an estimated 115,000 project hours over the past year and designed over 3,363,517 square feet in new construction, additions, and renovations ensuring that each campus is ready for teachers and students to begin a successful school year.

“This is a tremendous year for all of our school district partners as they open so many incredible facilities. Their dedication to serving their communities with the best learning environments possible, be it a new school or renovating an existing one, is always inspiring to everyone at VLK,” said Sloan Harris, Partner, VLK Architects. “Seeing students enter their new school the first day makes the years of hard work so rewarding. It’s our favorite time of year!”

While experiencing a substantial growth increase in project and firm size, VLK Architects has received numerous local and national awards. Most notably, VLK received the Circle of Excellence award which represents the top 20 percent of participants in PSMJ’s annual Architecture/Engineer Financial Performance Benchmark Survey. Earlier this year, VLK was also recognized among architecture firms and the business community by several organizations including Building Design + Construction, Architectural Record, ENR, Dallas Business Journal, and Zweig Group. These awards would not have been possible without the support of our exceptional clients.

“We appreciate the opportunity and trust that our district partners, many of which have been a partner for over three decades, have bestowed upon us,” said Sloan Harris, Partner, VLK Architects. “As the 2019-20 school year begins, we know that each district’s administrators, teachers, students, and parents have spent countless hours preparing for this year. It is a privilege and honor to do our part in supporting them.”

VLK’s notable openings this year include the Allen STEAM Center in Allen ISD, Marine Creek Middle School in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, River Bend Elementary School in College Station ISD, and June W. Davis Elementary School in Crowley ISD.

STEAM Center-Allen ISD

The Allen ISD STEAM Center is unlike any other in the state and will not only support students in STEAM-related coursework but will also provide an opportunity for learning partnerships with the community and local businesses. In order to fully comprehend the instructional intent of the facility, VLK | CURATION® was employed. Together with the district, we discussed learning aspirations and visited STEM schools in the Seattle, Washington area, as well as learning studios in the Fort Worth Museum District. Taking the experiences from VLK | CURATION®, we utilized VLK | LAUNCH®, involving students, teachers, administrators, community/business leaders, and Board Members. The VLK | LAUNCH® process facilitated the conceptual design of the Allen ISD STEAM Center based on the beliefs of all involved. The facility provides experiences for students across the district at all grade levels. Elementary and middle school students visit the building for field experiences that extend STEAM-related content in both learning studios and the rich outdoor learning environment. High school students receive instruction in purposefully designed labs that support their STEAM-related required curricula. Each area, which is connected to the heart of the building, overlooks and connects to the shared learning environment which includes innovative learning hubs, subject-specific studios, and room for exploration and collaboration. The Ellipse Theater supports large groups and provides a venue for younger students to be oriented to the STEAM Center upon arrival, as well as serving a variety of instructional purposes. The design integrates a rich outdoor setting, providing learning trails and ecological zones for exploration. Outdoor learning spaces include a wetlands zone, various forest zones, a black land prairie, and a wildflower meadow that are accessible from indoor studios and collaboration spaces.

“The Allen STEAM Center is an extremely unique facility which was designed for every student in our district,” said Daniel Pitcock, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Allen ISD. “What makes us unique is that our community supported a facility that was totally designed around every student in our district.”

Marine Creek Middle School-Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD

Marine Creek Middle School in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD was designed to support the district’s mission: To foster a culture of excellence that instills a passion for a lifetime of continuous achievement in every student. This two-story, 165,000 square foot campus embraces both new teaching approaches and the values that reflect the district’s character and offers an adaptable setting, ideal for both innovation and tradition. The campus is designed to support the ease of student circulation and supervision in a safe and secure learning environment. The building is broken down into small communities with collaboration areas at their core that supports all students as they transition towards independence and active learning. The incorporation of a Texas vernacular architecture style was the preferred exterior typology identified in VLK | LAUNCH®. The school offers a strong connection to the outdoors with a secure courtyard that feels open and natural. The extensive glass walls and windows provide views of the outdoors throughout the school.

“I want to thank VLK for listening to us and taking our words and our wishes and turning them into reality,” said Dr. Jim Chadwell, Superintendent, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. “This process takes time. We looked at every option for what could make this school the very best and this campus represents the very best.”

River Bend Elementary School-College Station ISD

River Bend Elementary School in College Station ISD is the fifth prototype elementary school that VLK Architects has produced for the district. The school is 90,134 square feet with a capacity of 800 students. Designed to serve Pre-K through 4th grade, the building features dedicated grade-level classroom wings, each with a collaboration area located at the entrance to each classroom wing, with direct access to a canopy-covered outdoor learning area. The building is organized to allow public use of the gymnasium and cafeteria without access to the classroom wings. With over a 20-year relationship with College Station ISD, VLK Architects has designed notable projects such as the campus-wide renovations and additions to A&M Consolidated High School, Cypress Grove Intermediate School, College View High School, Pecan Trail Intermediate School, and Wellborn Middle School.

“VLK is honored to be a part of the College Station ISD team and the opening of its tenth elementary school,” said Melissa Fleming, Principal, VLK Architects. “We are excited to see this campus welcome the next generation of learners.”

June W. Davis Elementary School-Crowley ISD

June W. Davis Elementary School in Crowley ISD will represent the reinvention of the district’s prototype elementary school. This brand new design reflects next generation learning by incorporating a variety of learning spaces, collaborative and small group spaces, and utilizes the building as a teaching tool with the addition of Imperial and Metric rulers inlaid in the corridor flooring, and the wall tile is used to inspire students to learn about the Earth’s strata. The outdoor learning area is provided with planting beds, water reclamation, and a tiered group teaching area. June W. Davis Elementary School in Crowley ISD is reflective of the district’s values where learning opportunities are no longer defined by classroom walls, as collaboration spaces now occur throughout the building and outside. Academic classrooms are located off of two main wings which allow for natural light to fill all of the learning spaces. This is the first new school building in Crowley ISD since 2010 and is representative of next generation learning. 

“Our mission at Crowley ISD is to provide our students with excellence in education so that they will achieve their fullest potential,” said Dr. Michael D. McFarland, Superintendent, Crowley ISD. “These facilities give us the chance to deliver on that promise.”

Below is a listing of Texas School Districts that VLK Architects partnered with to open facilities for the 2019-20 school year: 

  • Aledo ISD
  • Allen ISD
  • Arlington ISD
  • Azle ISD
  • Bells ISD
  • Birdville ISD
  • Brazosport ISD
  • Clear Creek ISD
  • College Station ISD
  • Crowley ISD
  • Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
  • Dallas ISD
  • Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD
  • ESC Region 10
  • Frisco ISD
  • Katy ISD
  • Lamar CISD
  • Montgomery ISD
  • Royse City ISD
  • San Antonio ISD
  • Socorro ISD