Ellen Ochoa Elementary School is going to open in time for the start of school on August 22 to serve 500 students from kindergarten to fifth grade. The school building has been designed with flexibility in mind so that students and teachers can use the space creatively. Most of the classrooms have sliding glass doors with wheeled chairs and furniture that can be moved easily to allow large group activities.
The Ellen Ochoa Elementary School will be the first district school to be designed like a community school. It follows the Union model where parent involvement, academic enrichment, neighbourhood development and physical and mental health are emphasized. The facility has been built to be energy efficient and high tech with LED lights and sky lights.
The school has some unique features that include 3 outdoor classrooms, a community garden and an outdoor kitchen that enjoys the view of 32-acre property. It has an on-site health clinic that can be used by community members.
The district’s warehouse crew has started to move leftover school supplies, furniture and equipment to the school so that the teachers can start to move into their classrooms. The first 500 students that will be served by Ellen Ochoa Elementary School were relocated from Briarglen Elementary School that has been closed. Additional students are expected after the district is finished with the redrawing of boundaries.
Most of the new furniture for the classrooms have been delivered and assembled. The district expects the TV’s and Smart digital displays to be installed next week along with the new office furniture and outdoor furniture for the kitchen and dining room.
According to district spokesman Chris Payne, the construction of the elementary school was funded by a $15 million bond that was approved by the taxpayers in 2016. Additional funding was provided through $11 million bond issue that was passed early this year.
Every school aspires to have quality and well-designed school chairs for children to inspire them to learn. Children have to undertake a lot of different activities and furniture must be customized to accommodate such activities. Simply providing furniture is not enough; it has to be customized to suit the available space.