Check out architect’s 1st look at potential Port Neches-Groves elementary designs

Published 12:18 am Saturday, May 16, 2020

PORT NECHES — VLK Architects finished the schematic designs for the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District’s 2019-20 bond project last week.

The architectural firm spearheading the project presented the finished designs for the four, new elementary campuses at this week’s virtual board meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier said seeing the finished result is stunning.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This is kind of that 30,000-foot-view-from-an-airplane-type look,” she said. “That’s what it looks like from above.”

VLK Architects presented a first floor, 3-D layout for Port Neches-Groves School Board members to review.

The Port Neches-Groves ISD’s new intermediate schools’ conceptual design shows a two-story 3D look into the technologically advanced campuses, featuring outdoor learning spaces, a large media center, upgraded administration suite and more.

“We haven’t had new elementary schools in our district in 70 years, so seeing something like that and knowing it will be here to serve our kids for another 70 years is just exciting,” Gauthier said. “Everyone just has a huge smile on their face thinking of all these endless possibilities of students learning and our teachers teaching at this type of campus.”

The next step in the process includes more detailed planning and determining specifications necessary for teachers, faculty, students and staff.

“We are excited for what our amazing architects have done so far,” Gauthier said. “They go above and beyond to work with our community and make a plan that will make PNGISD proud.”

The design concepts were developed through VLK Architects’ Virtual VLK Launch, a two-day process of digital online meetings that Port Neches-Groves students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and project manager CBRE Heery participated in.

A conceptual view of the main school hallway as provided by VLK Architects.

Principal Architect Rayce Boyter said the crucial information garnished during the process helped shaped the design efforts.

“Prior to launch, participants gained further understanding about PNGISD’s teaching and learning through VLK |Curation, an in-depth collaboration process to fully comprehend the educational goals and aspirations of PNG as they relate to educational architectural best practices,” Boyter said. “PNGISD administrators shared current instructional practices in the district, and an analysis of how students learn best in PNGISD was conducted.”

Tours of relevant educational facilities also inspired the types of preferred spaces.

The conceptual design also went through virtual launches April 3 and 17, when participants shared ideas, posed questions and made revisions.

“After much conversation, participants selected the design which will be the basis of design for the new Port Neches-Groves Intermediate Schools,” Boyter said. “As design continues, materials and colors on the interior and exterior design will develop and engineers will be engaged to begin to develop the civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology aspects of the project.”

The next step includes fine-tuning designs and starting the design development phase.

Design development includes finalizing the design and making specifications such as item materials, windows, door locations and general structural details.

PNG passed the $130 million bond in November, with a plan to condense the seven elementary campus layout down to four.

District officials have said they are hoping to break ground on the campuses by December and have all campuses under construction by 2022. A projected timeline shows students will begin transitioning into new campuses between 2022 and 2024.