Major renovations transform Watkins MS for its 35th anniversary

May 24, 2018—Opening as CFISD’s fifth middle school in 1983, Watkins Middle School was among the campuses to open the 2017-2018 school year with new upgrades, features and sense of pride among its students, staff and community.

That’s just what has happened to older schools benefitting from renovations thanks to bond funds.

“More than anything, it just brought everything to the forefront,” said Dr. José Martinez, Watkins principal. “It’s not in the background anymore. I think after 35 years, you just sort of fade into the background.”

Among the renovations and upgrades completed at Watkins Middle School was adding a secured vestibule to the main entrance and creating more open space thanks to a 20,000-square-foot addition to the campus.
Among the renovations and upgrades completed at Watkins Middle School was adding a secured vestibule to the main entrance and creating more open space thanks to a 20,000-square-foot addition to the campus.

Not anymore, as the $30.9 million renovation project designed by PBK Architects and constructed by ICI Construction has transformed Watkins (4800 Cairnvillage Street) thanks to bond funds.

A 20,000-square-foot addition was added to the campus, as was a new HVAC system and new parking lots. New carpet, ceilings and paint upgraded the interior of the campus.

“Literally, we were on a construction site,” Martinez said. “And being able to see a little bit every day that it was being built kept it real. You saw it go from a paper to reality.

“Living through ‘temp city’ (and) just being able to be in a building after that was incredible.”

Watkins Middle School received major renovations completed in 2017 thanks to bond funds, with the $30.9 million project seeing a 20,000-square-foot addition to the campus as was a new HVAC system, new parking lots and new carpet, ceilings and paint upgraded the interior of the campus.
Watkins Middle School received major renovations completed in 2017 thanks to bond funds, with the $30.9 million project seeing a 20,000-square-foot addition to the campus as was a new HVAC system, new parking lots and new carpet, ceilings and paint upgraded the interior of the campus.

Watkins is also one of the first CFISD middle schools to receive athletic upgrades, which included re-sodding the football field, adding a new four-lane track complex and upgrading the weight room.

“Coming back and having…this weight room – this state-of-the-art weight room – the kids have been in a lot and has transformed them a lot,” said Wesley Hale, Watkins athletic coordinator. “They talk about it all the time (and) it’s something they’ve never had until this year.

“But probably the number one is the track. Getting that track and what it did for the track program is amazing. Getting to practice on a real track and letting the kids see actual marks. It’s come a long way this year.”

What the upgrades have helped with is putting and keeping the focus on instruction. Furniture that was purchased, for example, were styles conducive to small group learning. Security upgrades such as buzzer door releases, bullet-resistant glass, added security cameras and a secured vestibule gives the campus personnel one less thing to worry about.

Watkins Middle School received major renovations completed in 2017 thanks to bond funds, with the $30.9 million project seeing a 20,000-square-foot addition to the campus as was a new HVAC system, new parking lots and new carpet, ceilings and paint upgraded the interior of the campus.
Watkins Middle School received major renovations completed in 2017 thanks to bond funds, with the $30.9 million project seeing a 20,000-square-foot addition to the campus as was a new HVAC system, new parking lots and new carpet, ceilings and paint upgraded the interior of the campus.

Watkins staff and students worked and learned through construction, but the finished project is something for the Bulldogs and their community to be proud of. They celebrated with a “grand re-opening” in October to showcase the renovations for the school’s 35th anniversary.

“It would’ve been very difficult after (Hurricane) Harvey and the impact it had in our community for them to have to come back to a temporary situation,” Martinez said. “It was amazing. I think it helped us get the year up and running to have an actual building to come to.”

Related Links: