The HISD Board of Education on March 7 authorized the district to negotiate contracts with three firms on three more 2012 bond projects, including Grady Middle School, Condit Elementary, and the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion K-8 School.
HISD officials spent several weeks reviewing qualifications submitted by 85 architectural and engineering firms seeking to do work with the district under the 2012 bond program, which will build or renovate 40 schools across the district. The $1.89 billion bond program, approved by voters in November, will also fund middle school restroom renovations, technology upgrades, and safety and security upgrades.
Listed below are the most highly qualified firms approved for the selected projects:
- Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion K-8 School (new facility): PBK Architects
- Grady Middle School (new addition): Natex Corp.
- Condit Elementary School (new facility): VLK Architects
The firm selections are the latest in the program. On Feb. 14, the Board of Education authorized the district to execute contracts with eight firms for selected projects. They are:
- Middle school restroom renovations: Robert Adams, Inc.; VCS; English & Associates, Inc.; and Courtney Harper + Partners, Inc.
- North Houston Early College High School (new facility): RdlR Architects, Inc.
- South Early College High School (new facility): Smith & Company Architects, Inc.
- Waltrip High School (partial replacement and general renovations): Gensler
- Worthing High School (new facility incorporating new 2-story classroom wing): Molina Walker Architects, Inc.
“We are committed to moving forward as quickly and as carefully as possible to ensure a quality program that will give our students and teachers the tools they need to support 21st Century learning,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier.
To assist in the review and selection process, administrators solicited the expertise of professors from the University of Houston, Rice University, and Prairie View A&M University schools of architecture.
The HISD selection committee invited 36 firms to provide oral presentations. All firms, including those not invited for the presentations, will remain under consideration for other 2012 bond projects.
The firms were evaluated using several criteria, including experience, quality of services, and commitment to HISD’s stated goals for participation by minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs).
Natex Corp., one of the three recommended firms, is a certified M/WBE, which means it is at least 51 percent owned by one of the following groups: African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, Native American or women. The two other companies, PBK Architects and VLK Architects, are committed to contracting no less than 25 percent of their work to M/WBE consultants. All are firms with a local Houston presence.
Overall, the district’s selections to date ensure a 59 percent participation rate by M/WBE firms for the projects so far in the 2012 bond program. HISD’s minimum M/WBE goal levels are 20 percent for all levels of purchasing and construction and 25 percent for professional services.
Administrators expect to bring forward more recommendations on bond projects to the Board of Education in the coming weeks.