Photos by Susan Passmore
To follow proper fire drill protocol, San Jacinto Elementary students, accompanied by their teachers, must cross streets to get at least 100 feet away from the school, which sits on only 2.7 acres.
San Jacinto Elementary Rebuild is on 2018 Bond
By Susan Passmore
Nestled snugly in a neighborhood in West Baytown, San Jacinto Elementary has been the home of the Bears since 1982. A true community school, more students walk to this campus than to any other school in Goose Creek CISD. While the small school feel of SJE appeals to many students and parents, addressing students’ needs for a 21st Century learning environment was a priority for the Citizen’s Facility Planning Committee (CFPC), so the rebuilding of the aging school at another location is a major construction project on the 2018 Bond proposal.
Simply renovating San Jacinto Elementary would not solve all the issues. The school sits on 2.7 acres as opposed to the district average of 14 acres for elementary schools. As a result, parking is inadequate for staff and visitors, and the district must rent a small area across the street from the school for additional parking.
SJE’s principal Rachel McAdam also points out some safety concerns at the school.
“There is no bus lane, so parents picking up their students must share the line with the buses. They park in the back on Kentucky Street at the end of the day, and we take the kids to the street, since there is no student drop-off or pick-up lane,” McAdam said.
An additional safety issue involves procedures during fire drills, since students must cross streets, filing into the parking lots of Life Church, San Jacinto Clinic, the additional faculty parking lot as well as Bergeron Park, to allow them to be at least 100 feet away from the school.
Classrooms at SJE are smaller than those at most elementary schools in Goose Creek CISD, and every available space is used, leaving little room for placement of the teachers’ computer carts. Even an area that was previously used for a custodial closet is now a small classroom. Backpacks must be left in lockers outside the classrooms.
“Our classroom size limits having small groups or stations, and it’s difficult to store iPads,” said SJE teacher Corina Garcia.
Since there are no windows in the classrooms, there is no natural light. Also, there is no room for Life Skills or other special programs at SJE, and the school has only one full computer lab. The small library limits the selection of books.
Outside, the play areas are small, and there is standing water by the portable buildings, which not only creates a muddy mess, but also is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“We are so close to St. Joseph Catholic School that in the three years I’ve been principal, we’ve broken three of their windows with balls, including one in the principal’s office,” McAdam said.
Some of the outside doors are right beside the doors students enter to line up in the cafeteria. Also, to be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), doorways need to be widened, pipes under the restroom sinks must be covered and classrooms and restrooms need to be enlarged.
While a few of the needs are easy fixes, others would require significant remodeling and expanding at a great cost. Since there is no place to grow, the CFPC considered the age of the facility and the fact that renovating would provide significant challenges with the infrastructure and mandatory building codes, recommending a replacement school for SJE to be included in the 2018 Bond at a budget of $26,264,000.
The new campus, which would most likely be built on district-owned property close to SJE, would be approximately 98,000 square feet and have a capacity of 800 students, nearly 300 more than the current school. No funding, however, is available without community approval of the 2018 Bond May 5, 2018.
Early voting begins April 23 at various locations, and the election will be May 5 at the Goose Creek CISD Administration Building. For more information about voting locations and times, please visit www.gccisd.net.
Consolidated Independent School District
4544 Interstate 10 East | Baytown, Texas 77521 | 281.420.4800
P.O. Box 30 | Baytown, Texas 77522 | 281.420.4800
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