The last time we shared an update about St. Mark Lutheran School in Houston, their new building project was missing ceiling tiles, didn’t have flooring installed, and had scaffolding throughout the building. They were near the completion of the construction phase but were not done yet. Now, 16 months after that update, the Lutheran school’s education building has been home to students for an entire school year and another has already begun.
Dallas Lusk, Executive Director at St. Mark Lutheran School, has glowing remarks about the completed building and the impact it is having on the students’ education. Lusk says the current students love the new space, which replaces five temporary modular buildings and includes:
- 21 classrooms
- Middle school learning commons
- STEM Makerspace for science, technology, engineering and math
- Technology & media lab
- Art rooms
- Spanish rooms
- Music rooms
Lusk says the school has seen increased enrollment as a result of the new building and that new children and their parents are impressed with the space. The school has more than 400 students now, which Lusk says are the highest enrollment numbers they’ve had in a long time. He says that enrollment continues to increase, and that based on the growth from the expansion, the school has a capacity of 550 students.
“The kids just absolutely love the space,” says Lusk. “All the new students and families that tour really enjoy seeing how open it is and how much flexibility there is for learning.”
With a full school year under their belts, the team at St. Mark Lutheran School has seen incredible value to their students as a result of the CEF-supported addition.
Lusk mentioned a few highlights from the past school year that have helped to create a friendly and inviting space for students and a complementary learning space for all.
“Opening worship and the ribbon cutting were tremendous. That was a really exciting thing. We hadn’t done a church and school-wide worship service, so it was nice to do that to kick it off,” Lusk said.
St. Mark Lutheran School also hosted a science night in the new Makerspace with the coding, robotics, and engineering. Additionally, they’ve done a scientific egg drop inside the building. Because the classrooms are in the same building, all the grade levels are able to see the experiments the STEM classes do. Not only does this allow for an audience for the older students’ experiments, but it gives the younger students the chance to see what they have to look forward to as the advance to the next grades.
Additionally, the school was able to house a mock trial with the Houston Bar Association. The learning commons was easily transformed into a trial room that allowed members of the Houston Bar Association to have a mock trial, complete with a judge and jury.
Having one building brings unification to the Pre-K through 8th grade school which previously did not exist. What a blessing to see that this building provides more than just a physical place to learn. The long-term benefits and the investment in its students is something that St. Mark Lutheran School took to heart when they planned the layout of the building. They considered all the details: filling the building with natural light, comfortable seating, and ample space for students to spread their wings.