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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth ISD broke ground for the new Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary School on Thursday, January 28 with the help of 4th grade students from two different schools.

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The new Van Zandt Guinn school will replace the existing facility built in the late 1970’s that is one of two underground schools within Fort Worth ISD, according to a news release from the school district.

“Clearly the construction of the new Van Zandt-Guinn is a milestone in the Fort Worth ISD and for the near South Side revitalization,” said Superintendent Dr. Kent P. Scribner. “There will literally be a new horizon for learning as our students will be able to see the city skyline from their classrooms.”

In dramatic contrast to the existing school, every classroom in the new school will receive natural daylight with the media center and cafeteria spaces having large expanses of glass to the north with views of downtown Fort Worth.

The new 67,500 sq. ft. building will be centered on the high point of the current school property at 501 Missouri and will be oriented to maximize the connection to the historic Southside neighborhood. It will house students from both Van Zandt Guinn and the current I.M. Terrell Elementary School.

I.M. Terrell will eventually be converted to the District’s new Visual and Performing Arts/STEM Academy.

“So children will be able to come to school here and learn about the rich heritage of this neighborhood,” said Board of Education President Jacinto Ramos, Jr. “This school will be the heartbeat of the near South Side community.

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The new school will have an Outdoor Learning Lab located at the heart of the school to encourage interest and enthusiasm for the arts and sciences.

During the groundbreaking 4th graders from both elementary schools took part with District and community leaders to shovel the dirt.

The $17.5 million construction budget is comprised of Capital Improvement Funds approved by voters in 2013 ($12 million) and an additional amount ($5.5 million) from the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number 4 (TIF-Southside). Van Zandt Guinn is within the geographic boundaries of TIF #4, and the funds can be used for this purpose in accordance with an agreement between the Fort Worth ISD and the City of Fort Worth.

New Construction Facts:

Size (SF): 67,500 SF
Number of Students: 650
Grades: K-5
Design Start Date: July, 2015
Design Completion Date: December, 2015
Construction Start Date: January, 2016
Construction Completion Date: December, 2016
Architect: Perkins + Will
General Contractor: Joeris|BASECOM Construction Team

Van Zandt-Guinn ES Funding:
Proposition 2 $ 12,000,000
Tax Increment Financing (TIF, District #4) $5,500,000
Total for Van Zandt-Guinn ES $17,500,000

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