The start of a new school year is generally cause for excitement. But the buzz generating from Gunn Junior High and Fine Arts and Dual Language Academy this fall could be classified as “Category 5” exhilaration.
Gunn has been completely renovated as part of a 2019 Bond package, making the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year a cause for celebration among students, administrators, teachers and staff at the school, which opened in 1972.
Members of each of the aforementioned groups got to take in the “new school smell” when classes began last month. For art teacher Zena Young, the new Gunn represents the best fresh start imaginable – she spent the past year in a temporary location, a science lab that lacked the storage that art requires.
Her new room is one of three art rooms located in Gunn’s original building, now completely made over. Most of the original building was closed throughout the 2021-2022 school year while it was gutted and rebuilt. With the renovations, Young gets to teach in the most education-friendly environment imaginable.
“Here (in the new room), we have an abundance of storage conducive to art,” she says.
Young is also excited about the plugs that hang from the ceiling. They’ll be great for powering for small tools like glue guns and dremels from anywhere in the room.
All that noted, perhaps most exciting is access from the art room to the outdoors.
“It’s just amazing,” Young says about the opportunity to go outside and draw or paint nature. “It does wonders for the kids.”
The comprehensive construction, which was completed slightly ahead of schedule – and in time to have the facility ready when students arrived for the fall term – represents a new beginning for the 51-year-old school.
The years-long project, funded by the 2019 Bond, included three additions.
The largest addition – all classrooms – is on the south end of the building. The second addition enclosed what used to be open space between the original building and the gym/cafeteria building. It houses an all-new cafeteria (the old cafeteria was demolished), a kitchen expansion and a media center. The third addition, on the north end of the building, houses new locker rooms.
Gunn also now has a new turf athletic field and new parking lots. Plus, the entrance was moved from the east side to the west side of the building.
– AISD Communications