Despite a stormy forecast, the weather cleared up just long enough Friday morning for the Garden Oaks Montessori community to officially celebrate the start of construction on their new addition and renovations.
The suddenly sunny skies matched the mood of hundreds of students, staff, and community members who took part in the groundbreaking ceremony.
“We have some sunlight, so let’s make the most of this beautiful moment in time,” Principal Lindsey Pollock said as she kicked off the celebration, which included student performances and a recitation of the Garden Oaks Creed.
The first day back at school after winter break isn’t usually a day to celebrate among high school teens wishing they had one more day to sleep in.
But the atmosphere at Sterling Aviation High School was different on Wednesday as students reported for the first time to their new campus — a grand building with spacious classrooms, broad windows, colorful furniture, and the latest technology.
“It’s better than the old building,” said Sterling senior Rae’janae Bennings, as she caught up with friends outside the central dining commons before the first bell. “It’s bigger, and it looks way better.”
Houston Independent School District Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby pledged more outreach and assistance to small business owners seeking to do business with the district in his first public appearance since being named to lead the district’s business operations division and its 7,000 employees.
“This is not a job for me, but a lifeblood,” Busby told the Greater Houston Black Chamber on Thursday. “I didn’t take this job to get to the next job. I took this job to make a difference in the lives of our students.”
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education last week approved a $12 million construction contract to renovate Codwell Elementary School on the district’s south side so that it could re-open for students.
The building at 5225 Tavenor Lane has been closed and vacant since the summer of 2014 when renovation work being done as part of the 2007 bond program uncovered significant moisture problems that required the students to relocate.
When Sterling Aviation High School students return to class after winter break, they’ll report to a modern, new building with contemporary furniture, broad windows, and spacious classrooms and hallways adorned in bright, bold colors.
The grand building — specifically designed to enhance their aviation sciences program and support 21st century learning — has been long-awaited by the Sterling community, and it is well deserved.
“I think it’s going to mean that they’re not forgotten,” Fuentes said, describing the importance of the new building to his students and community. The feeling of being forgotten seemed reinforced as the school was labeled by the state as “Improvement Required” and lost academic programs. “Now, we have a new school, we’re no longer IR, we’re adding programs. They’re starting to see that they have value. They are valued.”
Mark White and Condit elementary schools will hold grand opening ceremonies this week to celebrate and showcase their new facilities, which were constructed as part of the voter-approved 2012 Bond Program.
The two new schools were among the first 2012 bond projects to be completed, opening their doors to students in time for the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition and renovations at Wilson Montessori School on Tuesday had all the usual celebratory elements from the obligatory shovels and hard hats to a distinguished list of speakers.
But Principal Beth Bonnette turned the morning into a teachable moment for the school’s more than 500 students when she challenged them to be part of history by contributing to a time capsule that will be placed within the walls of the new building.
Wilson Montessori and Energy Institute High School will hold groundbreaking ceremonies in November to celebrate the start of construction on their new buildings.
The Wilson Montessori event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. at their school campus, 2100 Yupon St. The Energy Institute event will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. at the site of their new location, 3501 Southmore Blvd. Continue reading →
Construction on the new North Forest High School, located on the city’s northeast side, is now 50 percent complete and scheduled to be finished in the third quarter of 2017.
“The project has really gained momentum over the last quarter,” said HISD Senior Manager of Construction Services Meredith Smith, who is overseeing the project. “We’re right at the half-way point now, and there’s lots of activity on the site. We’re seeing progress every day.”
The new $59.5 million campus, which is being built on the east side of Mesa Road across from the existing school, will accommodate 1,500 students. Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District expects to have almost three dozen schools under active construction by the end of 2016, HISD Construction Officer Derrick Sanders told the Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) on Tuesday during their quarterly meeting.
Pending board approval of additional contracts, the district will have 35 projects actively underway, leaving just two — Austin and Bellaire high schools — to begin construction in 2017. Up from about two dozen projects in the last quarter, that is more active construction than at any time in HISD’s history, and also believed to be record-setting in Texas and the U.S.
“The quantity of contracts that we’ve moved through the process is incredible,” Sanders said. “We’ve gotten a lot done, but have a lot more to do. We welcome the challenge.” Continue reading →