PISD: Renovations impact traffic

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Planned renovations for Carleston Elementary include getting drop-off and pick-up traffic off streets.

“If you’ve ever been on Harkey Road near Carleston, twice a day it’s a nightmare,” Superintendent John Kelly said at the Pearland ISD March 10 Trustee meeting, where plans for renovations to the aging campus were detailed. “This (plan) pulls all that – or hopefully all of it – off Harkey Road and onto the site.”

According to plans, portable buildings will be removed, and parts of the building will be demolished or renovated to create new areas. 31 classrooms will become 43, to serve an expected 900 students.

A new canopy and front door will change the look of the front of the school, including where parents pick up and drop off. A kitchen renovation is also included in the project.

“Carleston is one of the three oldest elementary schools in the district, so it needs a major renovation plan,” Kelly said. “The idea is that it will add classrooms and make things more efficient and modern and up to date.”

The work is moving forward with the preliminary pricing process to be completed in May and go out for bids. Construction will likely begin in the current calendar year.

“The game plan is no additional portables and no moving students off the site,” said Phil Rutter of PBK Architects. “This project isn’t near the size the high school is.”

At Lawhon, renovation plans also call for a new campus entrance and more classrooms. A new pick-up and drop-off configuration will improve traffic flow there, as well. Fourteen new classrooms will bring the campus total up to 44.

At Pearland High, just under $20 million in planned repairs won’t be nearly as visible, administrators said. Still, they are sorely needed.

“Pearland High School was built in approximately 1989, 1990,” Kelly said. “It is, at this point, 25 years old. And this $20 million worth of work – you will not see it from the outside. This is air conditioning systems, electrical, plumbing, cabling for technology and things that are not visible, but in an old school need upgrading.”

The academic wing will be completed first in work that will be heavy during two consecutive summers, according to Phil Rutter of PBK Architects.

The work won’t be visible, but is necessary, Trustees explained.

“If this wasn’t necessary, we wouldn’t be doing it,” Trustee Virgil Gant said. “Just like your house, I don’t think any of you have a 25-year-old house that you haven’t replaced the air conditioning in or upgrading a bunch of other things. This building is a good building and with this I think we will get many more years of use out of it.”

Renovations at PHS, Carleston and Lawhon will use up $35 million in recently sold bonds, plus up to $6 million in reserve funds, Kelly said.

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