Primary Academy wins ‘President’s Award’


Gonzales Primary Academy Recently won a People's Choice Award, for Best Rehab and Renovation, from Texas Downtown Association; and now, the school has claimed another award – The President's Award

The Primary Academy was nominated by Gonzales Economic Development Corporation, after Gonzales Independent School District made an amazing transformation, turning the former H.E.B. into a primary academy.

Genora Young, president and chief executive officer of GEDC, said of the transformations she has seen in her career this one was by far the biggest and most interesting.

Gonzales Primary Academy is situated in downtown Gonzales. The school is in view of the historic Gonzales County Courthouse and the 132-foot flag pole on Texas Heroes Square – both tourist attractions. When H.E.B. outgrew the location, the building was left vacant and turned out to be the answer to GISD's need for a new campus.

Barbara Friedrich, Gonzales Main Street Association manager, said she is thrilled to have such a beautiful school in downtown Gonzales and happy to see the school twice recognized by the Texas Downtown Association.

Members of GISD, GEDC, Main Street, and other downtown organizations, traveled to Killeen on November 9, for the Texas Downtown Association Gala and to accept the Peoples Choice Award, then they were surprised by the announcement that GPA – one of four renovations in line for the President's Award – had in fact won that award too.

Dr. Kimberly Strozier cannot say enough about the awards or the school. She is equally excited about both.

"The facility is such a beautiful campus designed by TSG Architects and constructed by Weaver and Jacobs," Strozier said. "We are so pleased and enjoying the benefits of this new facility thanks to our community."

Tim S. Gescheidle, owner of TSG Architects, said he was excited to have the opportunity to design and integrate in a more contemporary and updated look for the GPA project.

"The new additions would blend in with the original building's form, yet overall would also make bold, attractive architectural statements," Gescheidle said.

According to Gescheidle the original grocery store's "superstructure" was utilized in the design, while adding new brick, glass, glazing and metal panels.

The school includes large classrooms, a large multi-use cafeteria – with play area, a library, music room, computer room, and administration area. The campus also includes outdoor playscapes and landscaping – to soften the aesthetic.

"With the new façade articulations and materials, one would be hard pressed to envision this beautiful primary academy as once being a grocery store chain," Gescheidle said.

According to Gescheidle GPA features new energy saving equipment, used in the original portion of the structure as well as in new components of the academy; and, the shell structure was carefully re-sealed and caulked to ensure to ensure maximum energy efficiency.

According to Gescheidle the most distinctive feature of the renovated building is the expansive glazing, protected by contemporary canopies and sunshades. Suspended rod canopies also provide shade from the harsh summer sun, as well as architectural interest.

"Grocery stores typically lack windows to the exterior," Gescheidle said. "However, the new design includes a large amount of curtain walls to create a connection to the exterior and the downtown."

Gescheidle said the GPA project has transformed a bland lot, with a vacant box store, into a vibrant addition to the downtown.

"The presence of students brings new life to this area of downtown," Gescheidle said. "The public library and fire station are all within one block."

Gescheidle said GISD's newest campus is an addition to the community and contributes to the revitalization of the downtown.

"And outdoor playground and a potential learning garden create a visible connection to the community, while turning a stark, flat building into a soft architectural statement," Gescheidle said.