Friona ISD Cuts Ribbon on Parkhill-Designed Elementary

Category: Architecture

Written By: Valerie Edgren

Date: September 9, 2021

Friona ISD Cuts Ribbon on Parkhill-Designed Elementary cover image

In a kind of a takeoff on TV’s “Trading Spaces” and “Extreme Makeover,” Friona ISD recently showed off its new Friona Primary School with murals that reflect the community. 

Superintendent Jimmy Burns asked Parkhill, the school design team, to model one of the child characters of the mural in the likeness of the late son of Deirdre Osborn, principal of the school. 

“My favorite part is that little part on that mural down there, the little boy,” Osborn said in an interview with Brad Tollefson, Parkhill videographer. “My son was killed seven years ago in a wreck. Mr. Burns didn't know Aaron, but the whole community did, and he asked for some pictures of Aaron when he was a little boy to put on that mural. There's my little Friona Primary student here with me every day. Very special.” 

“We’ve got a brand new building, and we’re so excited,” she said at the ribbon-cutting. For years, students had to cross the street five times a day, sometimes in bad weather, and students would have wet socks all day. “That street didn't drain very well, so we won't have to do that anymore; we're so thrilled. The school is so beautiful and it's even more than we thought.” 

Several other features make this project stand out. The new storm shelter protects against tornados, and the innovative courtyard and amphitheater solved the drainage problem. 

Friona ISD Superintendent Jimmy Burns called the drainage solution a smart design. 

“The architects did a great job of design where we can connect up and still let the water flow through, but we could also build a courtyard around it, then an amphitheater around it where our kids could go out and enjoy the sunshine during the day. I was very pleased with it.” 

Citing the project’s huge significance, Burns outlined the features, including the color scheme, the hubs where the students can work in groups, and the classrooms where the students can divide up. 

One of the architects, Aaron Rivera, AIA, is a former student, the principal said, and still has ties with the community. 

“Something like this can spark more growth in the community,” Rivera said. “You dream dreams and visions here. This can be a destination now. That's what building community means to me for this community is that we can build something together.” 



Parkhill designed the murals for Friona.