Stakeholders of Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center gathered at the school this week for a bond community meeting to learn more about design plans for their new campus, which is being rebuilt under the bond program.
Flexibility, a hallmark of 21st Century school-planning, features prominently in the design. The building would feature a large open courtyard that will function as a flexible outdoor learning and gathering space, and also serve as an extension of the dining area. A large grand stair is also featured in the plans and would serve as a flexible informal sitting and gathering space for students, but can also be used by class-sized groups for lectures or presentations.
“The architects have done a phenomenal job of capturing our vision and lending a big ear to ensure that our ideas are included in the designs,” said Houston MSTC Principal Rupak Gandhi.
The new three-story building has been designed with a modern collegiate feel, incorporating the school colors of gold, charcoal, and pearl white, in a secure, serene and transparent environment. The exterior of the tilt-wall constructed building is slated to have a sandstone look with a highly durable graffiti-resistant surface.
To support the school’s extensive CTE (career and technical education) program, which offers licensing and vocational certification in a variety of trades including auto mechanics, plumbing, and cosmetology, the new school would feature expanded and upgraded spaces including garage door openings for automotive, mechanics, and collision repair which are visible and accessible from classrooms. There would also be modern salon spaces and equipment for cosmetology training, as well as specialized plumbing and architecture areas.
“I really like the design. It looks like a new HCC campus,” said Emanuel Martinez, a 2007 graduate of the school. “The gym is very beautiful, like one you would see in the NCAA.”
The athletics area in the new school would feature a competition gymnasium with natural light, which can be seen from an upstairs practice gym with large viewing windows. The design also features a well-defined main entrance with a security vestibule, engineering and robotics labs, updated JROTC spaces, and a new fine arts wing with an 800-seat auditorium, and a black box theater.
“I am incredibly impressed with the design,” said HISD District 1 Trustee Anna Eastman, who represents the school. “I’m also impressed with the thoughtfulness of the architects and the quality of the work. It’s going to be a great school, and this community deserves it.”
The meeting was the second of three gatherings that are planned at various stages of the building project. Under the program, Sam Houston MSTC is receiving $101.4 million for a building that will accommodate up to 2,700 students.
Students will remain in the existing building during construction. Once the new building is finished, the old one will be demolished and new athletics fields will be constructed on the current site.
In the coming months, the architects will continue to refine and complete the designs. The project will go out for bid in the fourth quarter of this year. Construction is scheduled to begin by the first quarter of 2017 and take about 24 months to complete.