After a century, Tarver-Rendon Elementary is about to have a new home.The new elementary school, one of five included in the 2011 $198.5 million bond, is on track to be completed by July, just in time for the 2013-14 school year. The school has been a long time coming.Originally the site of a three-room school, Tarver-Rendons current building at 12350 Rendon Road traces back to 1947 with an expansion added after the school merged with the Mansfield district in 1969. Although loved by the community, the building was showing its age.The new Tarver-Rendon, being constructed at 6065 Retta Mansfield Road in Burleson, makes the most of its rural setting while boasting 21st century facilities. The limestone and brick exterior, along with a limestone interior staircase and an aluminum canopy, give the 85,000-square-foot, two-story building a Hill Country feeling, admitted Kyle Fletcher, project manager for Lee Lewis Construction, the contractor hired to build the school.Anything you can do to differentiate the aesthetics we take into account, said district spokesman Richie Escovedo. Each campus is going to have its own personality and culture. The structure is a part of that. If they look the same, theres the potential for disconnnect.Tarver-Rendon, which includes 35 classrooms, two computer labs, a cafeteria and gymnasium, will be the fifth school built with the same blueprints, but the district has tried to make small changes on the outside of each school to make them distinct.The new Tarver-Rendon will have a wall of windows in the cafeteria and nearby art class that look over rolling hills covered in post oaks, while the kindergarten classrooms feature views of a pond with ducks.The inside of the school also has special features, including geothermal heating and cooling systems that will offer substantial savings on energy costs, said Jeff Brogden, assistant superintendent of administrative support. The outside of the building will also help with insulation, featuring insulated concrete form, or two layers of insulation with rebar between concrete and an outside layer of brick veneer, he said. Tarver-Rendon will be the first school to have the new insulation, Brogden said.Judy Miller Elementary, currently under construction at 403 N. Holland Road, will also have the geothermal heating and cooling systems, he said. Miller, which is expected to be completed by May, will be used as a staging campus to host three other elementary schools while those schools are demolished and rebuilt. J.L. Boren Elementary, will be the first, moving in to Miller this fall. Boren and Alice Ponder Elementary will be demolished in July, Brogden said. Ponder students will go to school in the current Tarver-Rendon Elementary while their new school is being built.Ponder and Boren should take approximately 15 to 16 months to build, so they should be finished in the fall of 2014, Brogden said.Well switch (the students) when the opportunity is available, he said. The benefit of switching is getting them moved to the new school, moving Glenn Harmon students to Miller,then starting the process at Harmon.If all goes according to plan, the new Glenn Harmon Elementary should be completed in the spring of 2016. After the Harmon students move into their new school, Charlotte Anderson Elementary students will move to Miller. The new Charlotte Anderson should be completed by the fall of 2017, Brogden said.The current Tarver-Rendon building will be maintained until the site is needed for an intermediate campus, Brogden said. After the Charlotte Anderson students leave, Miller will be used as a new school for the southeast part of the district.Miller is where we will need it to be in the future, Escovedo said.The district plans to salvage some things from each campus to take to the new schools, Brogden said. He expects this summer, moving three schools, to be the most involved, he said.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM