Katy ISD dedicates Martha Lopez Aki Building
3 Nov 2021
By: Laura Aebi - Community Impact
Almost two years after the facility was initially funded and seven months after the building was completed, Katy ISD officials dedicated the Martha Lopez Aki Building—or Martha Lopez Aki Early Childhood Intervention Project Teach Your Kids Early Facility—formerly the L.D. Robinson Pavilion Agriculture Facility, on Oct. 18.
The facility, located at 6361 S. Stadium Lane, Katy, houses two purposes for the district. One program made possible through the facility is the Project TYKE—Teach Your Kids Early—program, which provides education for parents of children with special needs. The second use of the building is as a professional development center for district training.
“We are very proud of the Martha Lopez Aki ECI project designed by VLK [architects],” said Lisa Kassman, executive director of facilities and planning for KISD. “The facility meets the needs of the program along with honoring Ms. Aki.”
ECI Project TYKE has provided services to approximately 15,000 families since 1998. The facility’s namesake, Martha Lopez Aki, who was described as “a vital part of the district,” in a release from KISD, worked in KISD for four decades. During that time, she was an early intervention specialist, a teacher for auditory impaired students, an early childhood special education teacher and a kindergarten teacher.
“Under Aki’s leadership, the KISD program developed a group coaching model incorporating parent, child, and provider,” the district statement said. “Her model was taught to other ECI Texas programs.”
The KISD board of trustees awarded a contract for the design services required to repurpose and expand the former L.D. Robinson Pavilion Agriculture Facility on Feb. 24, 2020. The updated facility, which was completed in February, is 25,250 square feet and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, according to the release. It also includes classrooms, therapy rooms, evaluation rooms, office spaces, cubicles, a lounge and meeting spaces.
“Providing a permanent home for the TYKE program within the district was a major goal of this project, and the fact that we were able to repurpose the existing L.D. Robinson AG Facility into a beautiful space for early childhood education made it very special,” said Todd Lien, managing partner of VLK Architects, the firm behind the updates.