Northeast Tarrant

Neighborhood sees relief from school construction hassles

Crews at Cannon Elementary School in Grapevine prepare for a concrete pour for the building’s foundation.
Crews at Cannon Elementary School in Grapevine prepare for a concrete pour for the building’s foundation. Courtesy

While neighbors still oppose the placement for the rebuilding of Cannon Elementary School, they say the construction company has done a good job of limiting the hassles faced by those living closest to the school.

“It’s going from a ballfield to a 40-foot high wall across the street,” said Wendell Ponder. “It will be like living behind a Costco.”

Pam McCain, who also lives across the street from the school, said she’s still concerned that the building is sitting on a much higher grade than the surrounding homes and is too close to her house but Lee Lewis Construction has kept her informed on what they’re doing.

Another neighbor across from the school, Peggy Anderson, said workers have kept to the promised hours and have cleaned up after themselves.

“As far as the logistics of them doing the work, they’ve been neighborly and gracious,” Anderson said.

Construction on the $33.6 million project funded by the 2016 bond package should be completed in time for the 2018-19 school year. District officials made the decision to entirely rebuild the almost 60-year-old building due to foundation issues. The new school is under construction behind the old school, which is occupied by students.

One wing was torn down to make room for the new facility, and several portable classrooms were placed on the eastern edge of the property.

Neighbors across the street from the campus to the west and north complained to district officials last spring when they learned that a two-story classroom wing on top of a retaining wall would be located 30 feet from the edge of the property.

Original drawings showed the structure in the middle of the site. Administrators said that because they needed to keep most of the existing building functional during construction, locations on the 8.6 acre site were limited. An elementary school site is typically 12 to 15 acres, officials said.

Now that the project is well underway, Kristin Snively, executive director of communications for Grapevine-Colleyville, said the district sends out regular newsletters to neighbors to keep them informed on the phases of construction.

Crews have been doing the structural slab concrete pours on Saturdays to minimize the impact on campus and neighborhood traffic, and they have most workers park at the district stadium and ride a shuttle to the site, she said. They also have construction fencing and street sweepers making regular rounds to reduce debris.

School officials have gotten creative with student activities, with recess restricted to the front and west side of the school, Snively said.

While several neighbors said they appreciated the steps officials and workers have taken to minimize the impact of the project, they still would have preferred that the building stay in its current location.

Ponder said he misses the sound of children playing at recess and doesn’t expect to hear them when the project is finished because the playground will be on the other side of the building.

“I hope it doesn’t lower our property values,” McCain said.

Sandra J. Engelland: 817-390-7323, @SandraEngelland