April 19, 2018—Thanks in large part to voter-approved Bond packages – the most recent passing in 2014 – CFISD has been able to construct new schools and facilities to accommodate the district’s rapid growth.
But the Bond packages also help take care of existing facilities, one being Francone Elementary School (11250 Perry Road). The 40-year-old campus received major renovations and additions completed in time for the 2017-2018 school year.
At a total cost of $1.5 million, the construction project by VLK Architects and Prime Contractors, Inc. began in August 2015 and was completed two years later. It included adding walls to separate classrooms and spaces as well as replacing and upgrading all furniture.
“It was a very old school, where the cabinets were an orange and a lime green. Very primary colors,” said Christina Sanchez, a Francone fourth-grade teacher, of the campus originally completed in 1979. “It was as open as can be when I first started here. But, the walls give you a barrier so, there’s less distractions happening, which has helped them tremendously stay focused during the lessons.”
The project also addressed security needs and upgrades. A secured vestibule and digital CCTV cameras were added, as were video cameras with door access buzzers and five additional card reader access points at secondary entries.
“We came into Francone Elementary School and did some significant upgrades within the building,” said Roy Sprague, CFISD chief operations officer. “Also included in the Bond program was the replacement of all the exterior window systems and doors. We also came in and added some additional walls as part of the program.”
The feedback has been nothing short of positive, said Dr. Tonya Goree, Francone principal.
“There were cheers, screams, excitement and even tears – tears of joy. Because the building was in such great condition,” Goree said. “Your physical environment actually has an impact on student behavior, academic performance (and) teacher retention. School environment absolutely matters. It matters to the kids, it matters to the teachers, it matters to the parents.”
And while the campus approaches 40 years old, the renovations and upgrades have given the school’s staff, students and community a refreshed view on CFISD’s 11th elementary school.
“It’s a whole new building,” Sanchez said. “And it may look the same on the outside, but I encourage people to come and just look at the changes, and it’s totally different and we love it.”
Added Goree: “They have a sense of pride in the school. They’re proud to be in a school that looks as nice as Francone does.”