KISD trustees approve renovation plans for Katy Elementary

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 11/20/21

When voters in Katy ISD approved a $676.2 million bond package this past May, the package included about $22.9 million to renovate Katy Elementary. The facility was opened in 1964 and expanded in …

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KISD trustees approve renovation plans for Katy Elementary

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When voters in Katy ISD approved a $676.2 million bond package this past May, the package included about $22.9 million to renovate Katy Elementary. The facility was opened in 1964 and expanded in 1994 – and now it’s set to grow again.

“We have been so fortunate – my leadership team and I – to be involved with the district and the architect team to create a design that we believe preserves the unique features of our building, including the bell that was on the two-story 1909 building, while also providing us the updates and (additional space),” said Katy Elementary Principal Beth Grimet.  

Renovations at Katy Elementary will include a new roof, updates to the restrooms and kitchen, mechanical, electrical and plumbing updates, a new roof, added common areas and a new building to increase the school’s capacity, according to the KISD bond website. Details of the plan to make those renovations and upgrades were provided at the Nov. 15 meeting for the KISD Board of Trustees. The project, which is under the direction of KISD Project Manager Ryan Wotipka, was designed by Kirksey Architecture with feedback from Grimet and her staff. Construction will be completed by Satterfield & Pontikes Construction. Both companies are based out of Houston.

With the initial design concept approved unanimously by trustees, Wotipka said construction documentation will be developed by the end of January. Once that is done, a cost will be presented to the Board of Trustees during its March 2022 meeting.

Wotipka said preserving the campus’s history was a priority as the redesign process moved forward. Not only was the bell from the old schoolhouse preserved, but it was incorporated into a new bell tower at the front of the building. Additionally, with multiple prior renovations having been done to the campus during different eras, the architectural styles of the facility varied among those used since it was opened in the 60s. The new look, he said, needed to be cohesive while still nodding to the work of prior generations of Katy residents.

“And, one thing you’ll notice is, there’s a lot of beautiful trees on the site that we’ve really worked hard to maintain, and in some cases, hopefully incorporate those better into the design,” Wotipka told trustees.

The new plan removes portable buildings from the site and replaces them with a new two-story structure in the northeastern corner of the campus which will also add student capacity to the campus, Wotipka said. The new building would be used mostly by fourth and fifth-grade students

The main entry has also been redesigned to modernize it to meet current campus security needs, Wotipka said. The building will have one main entry with a large lobby that will reflect an increase in natural lighting using larger windows and skylights throughout the facility, where possible.

Bathrooms will be moved to make them more practical, Wotipka said. This includes placing them in more convenient locations for office staff to use and closer to the gymnasium.

Administrative offices for Grimet and her staff have also been rearranged to make the use of space more efficient and friendly to parents, students, faculty and staff, Wotipka said.

Grimet said the collaborative process of developing the design focused on not only functionality but ensuring the legacy of the campus – Katy’s first school – was preserved.

“I’ve had the privilege to work at Katy Elementary for 26 years as a teacher and an administrator, and it has become like a second home to myself and to our staff and to many in our community,” Grimet said. We currently have students who are sixth-generation descendants of the students who attended the one-room schoolhouse on our property.”

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