Community welcomed to school open house

Several+community+members+gather+together+as+they+attend+the+open+house+showcasing+the+new+Klein+High.+The+community+open+house+took+place+on+Dec.+4.+Photo+by+Sierra+Schuman.

Several community members gather together as they attend the open house showcasing the new Klein High. The community open house took place on Dec. 4. Photo by Sierra Schuman.

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Thursday December 4 marked the unveiling of the new Klein High School with an open house for interested parents, alumni, and community members wanting to see it firsthand.

“We wanted to share the finished product with the community that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to see it,” Klein ISD Superintendent Jim Cain said.  “The students, faculty, staff, and the parents of many students have been here before, but other community members who don’t necessarily have children in school haven’t seen it. We wanted to share this finished product because it’s really something that they helped support with their tax dollars. They get to see what their tax dollars are doing.”

The community open house offered refreshments and snacks, along with a musical performance by the choir and full orchestra.

“There were very positive comments about the performance and open house,” Principal Larry Whitehead said. “I received comments from retirees, former students, and business people. They loved the cafeteria and commons area, the graphics around the school, and the auditorium. There were about 500 people at the performance, and overall, there were about 1000 people coming from and going to the open house.”

In addition to attending the performance, the community was able to reminisce about the aspects of the old school prior to and during construction, comparing these differences to the new school standing before them.

“At the time when I was at Klein, the previous building was 10 years old, so it was a fairly new school,” said 1977 graduate Carol Faw Roehrig. “We had about 640 students in our graduating class. This was the only school, and it was also out in the middle of nowhere. Jack in the Box was built in my freshman year, and that was like big news. We had no place to go with fields in every direction. Louetta was just a two-lane road with stop signs at Kuykendahl and fields. The school was pretty much all one building. It wasn’t that big:  just one gym, the band hall out right where you come into the cafeteria, and the practice field was right across the band hall. You didn’t go out that much, but they kept adding on to it a lot. Now, this is nice and new, and everybody can spread out.”

The construction, which began in 2010 with the demolition of the Main Building, consisted of three phases. Phase I concerned itself with repairing the football stadium as well as starting the Academic and Athletic Buildings. Phase 2 then tore down the rest of the old buildings and focused on constructing the rest of the Academic and Athletic Buildings along with the cafeteria, commons, auditorium, fine arts, journalism, and practice fields. Phase 3, which includes the front parking lots and was completed over the Thanksgiving Break.

“The old building was so spread out; different pieces of it looked different from others. I remember being inside for one class, then having to go outside and navigate that maze of T-Buildings to get to another class,” parent Mike Wardle said. “It grew up over the years and it all looks like it goes together now. It seems lighter and more open, more compact inside. The kids aren’t crazy about all of the stairs, but even with that, it seems easier to get around.”

Community members not only got the chance to attend the performance in the auditorium, but they were also able to traverse the campus, exploring the buildings and the library.

“This is my first time getting to walk through and see what it looks like after everything is done. It’s crazy. Everything is bigger: a lot more classrooms, a lot more stories,” 2012 graduate Ayla Boyd said. “We had the Main Building, the Career Center, the High Rise, and the Pavilion, but we didn’t have the T-Buildings or anything like that. We didn’t get the ‘trailer park’ until my sophomore year. I wanted to look at the new building and see everything because I graduated from here but it’s not really my school anymore.”

Overall, throughout the open house, the community reacted positively to the improvements that the new school implemented.

“We moved out specifically to this area for the Klein schools 40 years ago, and both of our children graduated from here,” parent Diane Payne said. “We came often to this school in the past for other things, but this redo is just fabulous. That’s the reason we came to see it: we wanted to see how it was turning out. It’s more spacious, open, and high-tech. I was astounded that it has four gymnasiums. If you had one in my day, that was cool. Everything is just state of the art. We can’t think of anything we don’t like about the place.”