May 10, 2018—CFISD’s growth along its western edge has resulted in most of the newer projects being constructed in areas closer to the Grand Parkway. But that hasn’t stopped new school campuses and facilities from being completed in other areas.
One such project is the replacement Matzke Elementary School, which opened in August 2017 on Mills Road and was funded by the 2014 Bond package. The $26.744 million project was designed by PBK and built by Purcell Construction, Inc., and sits near Cypress Creek High School.
“At the old Matzke, we had great morale, climate and culture,” said Cathy Jacobs, Matzke principal. “I think we’ve been able to kind of enhance on that with the new building, and it’s really rejuvenated people.”
The 129,246-square-foot campus features a two-story classroom wing with an adjacent one-story building that will house a gymnasium, science labs and food service, administrative and support areas in addition to classrooms. Interior features also include flex learning spaces, flex seating options for students and the latest instructional technology.
“I love that we got Promethean Board training and Promethean Boards,” said Stephanie Balderas, Matzke fifth-grade teacher. “I have a very student-centered classroom that does blended learning. We use the computer cart so that they can do the Chromebooks so that we can do Kahoots (and) we can do a lot of things.”
Added Rebecca Rodriguez, Matzke fifth-grade teacher: “We have wobbly stools (and) we have the rocking chairs, and that really helps those babies that need to move be able to move and still focus in the classroom.”
Exterior features include a learning courtyard, covered walkways, athletic fields and playground areas. The school also brought over a number of traditions, including the “thumbprint tree.” The original had its leaves made from the impressions of thumbprints of every student and employee since 1984.
The campus replaces the original Matzke, which opened in 1966 with the distinction as the first open-concept elementary school in the southwest.
The timing was a blessing in disguise for CFISD. Originally planned for alternative purposes, the old Matzke became the 2017-2018 home of Moore Elementary School after the campus suffered significant damage due to Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed. So not only did Matzke Elementary School provide relief for a neighboring campus, but it got a brand-new building to accommodate nearly 1,100 students.
“This year, our theme is ‘Kids Deserve It,’ and really and truly, this building and all that it’s brought – especially after Harvey – really did put that ‘Kids Deserve It’ into action,” Jacobs said.