A. P. Beutel Elementary School was originally built in 1958, and on January 22, 2016, 57 years later, BISD begins the process of building a brand new facility in its place. A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held at the campus to celebrate this new beginning.
Public Relations Administrator Karla Christman gave some of the history of the campus to an audience of BISD students and staff, and business and community members who attended the ceremony.
The campus was named after Dr. Albert Phillip "Dutch" Beutel. Beutel was a Dow Pioneer and city founder. Beutel Elementary opened in 1958 with an enrollment of 447 elementary students and 54 kindergarten students. The first principal was Mr. John Glenn, followed by nine more principals: Mrs. Betty Sue Scarborough, Dr. William Walters, Mr. Horace Driscoll, Mrs. Kitty Martin, Mr. Ray George, Ms. Nancy Swenson, Ms. Kathy Vickers, Ms. Tara Barclay, and the current Principal, Mrs. Laura Morris.
Christman added that generations of students have passed through the campus and have gone on to successful careers – to be trailblazers in our community and our world. With the foundation of a quality education and a caring staff, Beutel has produced bank presidents, doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, NASA scientists, performers, artists, accountants, service men and women, software developers, chemists, educators and even a US Senator.
BISD Superintendent Danny Massey then shared details about the new facility, which will be the first of four other elementary campuses to utilize this same design as part of the 2014 bond program. Each campus will serve grades Pre-K through 4th grade, designed to accommodate up to 750 students.
"Its 89,865 gross square feet of space will incorporate many 21st century educational design attributes, such as daylight exposure in each classroom, collaboration spaces throughout the campus for group learning of various sizes, and overall flexibility of spaces to respond to the needs of today and tomorrow," he said. The building is laid out in a pattern that maximizes the exterior walls to allow daylight into the majority of the facility. Each wing will contain two grade levels with separate collaboration spaces and teacher support areas, as well as direct access to playgrounds on site.
Massey added that the new facility will have a separate gymnasium and cafeteria allowing the option of having multiple functions occur at the same time. After applause came from the audience, he laughed and said, “yes... no more cafegymatoriums!” (For those who have not visited one of these elementary campuses, one room currently functions not only as the cafeteria, but also the campus gymnasium and auditorium).
At the heart of the building, there will be a Media Center with adjoining wet and dry lab spaces, which can function for science and art activities. Site vehicular circulation includes drives for the stacking of cars during drop-off and pick-up times, allowing cars and buses to be on the school property limiting backing up onto the public streets. Storm water detention has been designed to handle rain events to improve the drainage problems now experienced during heavy rains.The construction of the building was awarded to Sterling Structures in the amount of $19,133,178 which is slightly under budget.
The new Beutel Elementary School is scheduled to welcome students in August of 2017, followed by the construction of new facilities at Jane Long, Roberts, Ogg and Brannen elementary.