New year, new school for Madison HS students

Students at Madison High School chattered excitedly about their modern surroundings Monday as they made their way to class on the first day of the spring semester.

Madison Principal Paolo Castagnoli said fun activities were planned to welcome back the students, including a virtual tour of the school and several food trucks for lunch.

“Everything’s great,” Castagnoli said. “We love our new facility.”

Madison’s $94 million project, which is part of the 2012 Bond program, spans 265,000 square feet and will accommodate up to 2,100 students. The new building features a two-story foyer that doubles as a dining commons and large gathering space and offers plenty of natural light.

Madison senior Gerardo Ravanales said he hopes the new building will attract more students.

“I think Madison’s a great school and now that it has a better presentation, I think people will be more inclined to come here and more students will be eager to learn,” Ravanales said.

The school entrance is flanked by three, two-story academic wings to the east and performing arts and community spaces to the west. The gymnasium and athletics area are located in the northeast portion of the building. The swimming pool, which will be constructed at a later date, will also be housed in the same area.

Ravanales said he regrets not having more time to learn in the new building.

“I’m only going to be here for half a year, but I guess I’ll make the most of my time,” Ravanales said.

Madison senior Jasmine Rahman, who liked the school’s new gym and auditorium, said she has siblings in ninth and tenth grade who will continue to enjoy the new features after she graduates.

“There’s more space on the stage,” Rahman said. “Hopefully we can have more guest speakers in the future.”

Madison is one of 40 schools, including 29 high schools, being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. More than 80 percent of all HISD construction projects are complete and HISD will soon boast one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.

Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.