Celebrating the Heart of the Community Margaret S. McWhirter Elementary
A huge crowd of students and staff, alumni, district administrators and community partners celebrated the Rededication of Margaret S. McWhirter Elementary School in Webster on March 3, 2016. The original campus was named after the former principal and CCISD assistant superintendent in 1973. Six family members attended the rededication including her children Mike McWhirter and Diane McWhirter Jennings as well as grandchildren Chad McWhirter and Brooke McWhirter.
“Two years ago, we were in a building that had more than 70 exterior doors and our kindergarteners walked a quarter of a mile to get to the nurses office. Now, we only have 20 exterior doors and our smallest students are just around the corner from the front office,” said, Dr. Michael Marquez, Principal. “This building has nine unique collaborative spaces, and instead of chalkboards and whiteboards, every classroom has floor to ceiling magnetic white walls that students can write on and teachers can turn into smartboards with a flip of a switch.”
Members of the McWhirter family admired a painting created with the help of the CCISD Fine Arts department, and the art teachers at Clear Creek High School, Clear Creek Intermediate School and McWhirter Elementary. The painting was created with the inspiration that family, like branches on a tree, grows in different directions, but the roots remain as one. The leaves on the tree are actually thumbprints of current McWhirter students as well as former students who are now at Clear Creek Intermediate and Clear Creek High School. McWhirter family members added their thumbprints as well.
The new McWhirter Elementary was designed by VLK Architects. “Seeing the excitement on the faces of the students, faculty, and community was the ultimate reward for our team. It was especially wonderful to have the family of the namesake, Margaret S. McWhirter, in attendance to celebrate the on-going legacy of the school and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Melissa Fleming, VLK Architects Project Architect. “From the design process through the opening of the school, VLK Architects has thoroughly enjoyed working with the administration and community to make this project a huge success.”
In 2013, voters in CCISD passed a bond referendum designating 30 million dollars towards replacing the original facility with a new campus to address the needs of teachers and enhance learning for McWhirter students. In addition to collaborative learning spaces in the new building, there are also new windows and glass curtain walls added to spaces making the natural light a resource to be harvested. “I happen to really like the light that pours in all through this building. For what it does for learning and what it does to keep the school going. It’s there just waiting to ignite dreams for tomorrow,” said Dr. Laura DuPont, CCISD Board of Trustees President. “McWhirter Elementary is truly the heart of its community.”
View all photos here