Showing posts with label school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Alta Vista Christian Academy

3110 Rock Prairie Road West (3110 Gandy Road)

The time is September 1997. Rock Prairie has just recently or is in the process of extending from the stub where it abruptly dead-ended at Victoria Avenue all the way to Wellborn Road. Using the rural back road of North Graham Road was about to end, and in February 1998, a railroad crossing connecting Gandy Road and Rock Prairie Road was approved. It was this time that Alta Vista opened.

The Rock Prairie extension only had a street sign (Wellborn/Rock Prairie Road) and a stop sign (along with a new Exxon station that opened, which included an A&W). Beyond the railroad was a dusty road ending at a yield sign. This was Gandy Road. Though a dusty, rural road, it included the Diamond T Stables and Storage (still with "3270 Gandy" on the address to this day), some sort of facility that looked like a fish farm or water retention (little ponds in the back), and Alta Vista Christian Academy.

My only experiences of Alta Vista came from exploring the new extension of Rock Prairie after it opened circa 2000-2001. The new extension was fascinating: there was a dip in the railroad crossing (as opposed to the "humps" in the others): this was taken out when they expanded Wellborn Road. In the early days of the crossing (circa 2001, I believe), there was a four-way stop at Old Wellborn, and several country-oriented places along the way: including aforementioned Diamond T Stables (still with "3270 Gandy" on the address) and of course Alta Vista (a small private school). The new extension went all the way to North Dowling, and then, on the other side, Blue Ridge Drive, which went even further.

I remember how the old railroad ROW looked in 2001: it was a sad, gated-off place that was kind of creepy-looking, with the (patchy) I&GN Road going the other way. That was the original ending of Gandy (it curved into I&GN). The rest of the way has the partially-undeveloped Great Oaks Estates, farmland, and another trailer park (substantially less attractive than the ones closer to the old ROW).

The entire Class of '98. (picture from The Eagle)

Of course, all that began to change as urbanization slowly crept west. Alta Vista struggled for years, even having to be saved from bankruptcy in the early 2000s thanks to donations, but by the mid-2000s, Alta Vista had folded up and disappeared, with no trace remaining. It's now the Williams Gate subdivision.

Editor's Note: Some of this text comes from The Development of Rock Prairie Road, which will be discontinued. Check for updates on Holiday Inn, Sbisa, and the MSC. The index will be updated soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CSISD Middle Schools Since the 1990s

Until June 13, 2012, this was known as "Middle School misery history!". I changed it to be a bit more specific

Circa 1998-1999, there were only a handful of schools in the CSISD. There was the relatively new Pebble Creek Elementary School and Rock Prairie Elementary School (actually 10 years old by that time), the freshly-renovated South Knoll Elementary School, Southwood Valley Elementary School, and College Hills Elementary School. There was also Oakwood Middle School and Willow Branch Intermediate School, and College Station Junior High to the south. But there were problems with that layout. Despite a recent expansion of Rock Prairie to Wellborn (meaning you no longer had to drive down to North Graham Road or go through Welsh if you weren't coming via highway), the the junior high was crowded, and the school pathway (all 5th graders going to Oakwood, all 6th graders going to Willow Branch).

So during that time (around 1999), the schools received a major shakeup. The elementary schools remained, but the grades 5-8 were changed dramatically. Willow Branch was renamed A&M Consolidated Middle School, got a minor renovation (including the demolition of the dome-like auditorium, a holdover from the days when Willow Branch was a high school) and held half of the city's 7th and 8th graders. College Station Junior High was renamed College Station Middle School (just a quick signage change, really). Oakwood Middle School lost its "Middle" namesake: that was for junior high schoolers, and held 5th and 6th graders. A new campus was built, Cypress Grove Intermediate School for 5th and 6th graders. But there were budget problems during construction, so Cypress Grove was left incomplete, with stubby wings and a few cut plans (like showers in the locker rooms). And because of the never-ceasing flow of kids, it meant it had to compensate with portables.

I say this because I did go to Cypress Grove and CSMS in the past. It was a different time back then: the "outdoor classroom" and garden surrounded by the track has been replaced by an expanded parking loop, the great trees and wilderness to the south, of which only you could see the tip of Christ United Methodist and the water tower was replaced by Creek View Elementary School, and the east, of which we could reach through the fence and grab dewberries, was eventually torn down for more subdivisions. Indeed, what was once the fringe had quickly turned into rapidly multiplying suburbia.

CSMS and AMCMS...I went to both, had very different layouts. The CSMS layout was confusing, as there were essentially five corridors (7th, 8th, Science, Elective, Gym/Cafeteria) that was wrapped around the library. This was in theory a good plan but the problem was the library was more impeding, forcing the central corridors to be very packed (and this was after the split). One neat thing about CSMS was it had three lines, the Cub Canteen, the Cub Café, and something else with C. It served pretty good food at the time: you could order a tall glass of sweet iced tea (they had sugar packets, too), but I doubt that's the same today with draconian food nutrition laws. A funny thing about CSMS was that in spring 1991 when it was built, the school's mascots was still the Kittens (as opposed to the Cubs), but unfortunately, I have no real references (yearbooks, articles, etc.) that actually confirm that fact, so take it with a grain of salt.

AMCMS was better in that the layout was basically an "X" with a central corridor and a second building that was a big loop. The "big loop" building was neat in the fact it had multiple gyms, ramps, and about three or four brick types on the outside. I don't know how much of that was from the original high school there, and what was Willow Branch construction.

I never went to Oakwood, but there was a mural on the south side that had cats on it (probably student-painted) that disappeared sometime in early 2006, and as a kid I always thought the Oakwood library was really cool and unusual (I wonder if it's still that way? Oakwood is one of the oldest, and thus, most architecturally interesting, of the CSISD schools, as far as I know).

Got any memories of CSISD schools, grades 5 through 8? Post 'em here!