Policies and curriculum development have been underway for weeks. But for first time, the board members of San Antonio’s new early education measure, called Pre-K 4 SA, got to see some tangible proof their work is in motion.
Board member Bob Bevard, an appointee of District 8 Councilman Reed Williams, strolled through the northwest side model education center, a former Southwest Airlines calling center, on Tuesday and said, “This is cool.”
Bevard noted the construction has really come a long way to making the inside – still without classroom walls – look like a school.
"It's going to be fun as it gets closer to completion but it's really cool to get to see it as it's a skeleton,” he said.
The board members walked through each site as they listened to project manager Chuck Smith, who works closely with GFR Development Services.
Smith talked about the classrooms, the playground areas, drop-off locations, and the eventual expansion of the northwest side site. He also pointed out the challenge of the construction projects. Smith said the most obvious difficulty is the pace of construction. “You typically wouldn't build a school as fast as this is being built," he said.
The south side model education center, where the executives will office, is located across from Brooks City-Base West. It's being built from the ground up.
"We've got classrooms and then at the other end of the building, at the far end of the building, they've got the administrative offices for the entire program, rather than just the administration for the school itself, administration for the entire program,” said Smith.
Pre-K 4 SA's president and CEO, Elaine Mendoza, said the board’s main job is to set policy. Seeing the physical buildings come into existence is an example of the work being done on both ends, where policy will meet practice.
Board meetings, which occur frequently, have been used to identify what Mendoza says is layers of excellence.
“We'll be able to pull out how we're approaching excellence even in the bricks and mortar,” she said.
Bevard expects the buildings to be completed at least a month before students start classes. That way, little adjustments can be made before the little ones take their first step into the new and newly renovated centers.