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Celebrating the Opening of Katy ISD’s New Jenks and Bethke Elementary Schools

Katy, TX – November 22, 2016 Over the past few weeks, Katy ISD hosted dedication ceremonies for two of their newest schools, MayDell Jenks Elementary and Catherine Bethke Elementary. The Katy community, Board of Trustees, Fort Bend County officials, and the namesakes themselves, MayDell Krivacka Jenks, and Catherine Gigi Bethke, were all in attendance.

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These new schools were designed and built as a result of the district’s $748 million bond referendum approved by voters in November of 2014. VLK Architects was hired by Katy ISD to work in collaboration with the district and the community to create a new two-story elementary school prototype with Bethke and Jenks as the first schools to open. The hope with these new schools is to inspire students and engage different learning styles through the availability of collaborative and flexible spaces. In addition, these new facilities were constructed to address and accommodate Katy ISD’s increasing student population.

“I could not be more proud to have this opportunity to open a new state-of-the-art facility,” said Katy ISD Superintendent, Dr. Lance Hindt. “I am in awe to see the student adaptability and creativity as they develop individual modes of learning and collaboration through the use of flexible spaces.”

At the Jenks Elementary School Dedication Ceremony, Principal Troy Kemp spoke about how humbling it is to be a part of and represent Jenks in his role as principal. “This week the ‘Book of Awesome’ showed up in my mailbox,” said Kemp. “It is a book filled with pages of the little things in life that can turn an ordinary day into something very special. While opening a new school is by no means a little thing, I have to say it is awesome! It’s awesome in the traditional sense that it is something to be enjoyed, revered, and respected. It is also awesome because of the children and the families that I have gotten to know by being a part of this school.”

Mike Schofield, Texas House of Representatives, District 132 attended the Bethke Dedication Ceremony and spoke about how valuable it is to attend a new school and have the opportunity to pass wisdom down to descendants. “Fifty years from now, when some of the students who attend Bethke Elementary are retiring and happen to be driving by with their grandchildren, they will tell them ‘this is where I went to school. This is where I learned the lessons that I passed on to your parents, and they passed on to you,” said Schofield. “I can’t think of a higher calling or a better use for a piece of land than to be the place where that happens.”

Katy ISD’s Board of Trustees President, Rebecca Fox spoke at both dedication ceremonies and mentioned how much she enjoys seeing new campuses open within her own community. “There are no words that explain what a privilege and honor it is to represent you on Katy ISD’s School Board,” said Fox. “We are just so grateful that we get to be a part of a community that values education. You all have been supportive of us as we continue to grow and make more opportunities for our students to learn.”

These projects have been a two-year journey to completion which was a success that greatly benefited from the cooperation of the district, bringing these campuses to life.

“I just want to say thank you to the Katy ISD community for the opportunity to design learning spaces that will be used by your next generation of learners,” said Todd Lien, VLK Principal. “It was truly a collaborative effort and we could not be more grateful.”

Courtesy of VLK Architects
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