DeBakey Community Encouraged to Make Voices Heard on Planning of New School

A woman signs up for a committee to help plan the new DeBakey.

A woman signs up for a committee to help plan the new DeBakey.

About 30 people turned out Tuesday for a meeting at DeBakey High School for Health Professions, where they were urged to get involved in planning the new school that will be built under the 2012 bond program.

HISD Chief High School Officer Orlando Riddick told audience members that their ideas for the new facility should be innovative, and he encouraged them to think outside of the box. “The sky is the limit,” he said.

The $1.89 billion bond program will build or renovate 40 schools across the district, including 29 high schools.

“This is a dynamic opportunity for us,” Riddick said. “We have to develop and build something that is going to push our students.”

Opened in 1972 as a partnership between HISD and the Baylor College of Medicine, DeBakey is the district’s only magnet high school for the health professions, offering students a pre-college program for students interested in pursuing careers in medicine, health care or the sciences.

According the Riddick, the new campus, which will be built on the top level of a parking garage in the Texas Medical Center, will offer students a world-class facility that will be the first of its kind.

Learn more about the DeBakey project

“We’re going to have dynamic students, and we want to be sure that what we do with their facility is fantastic,” Riddick said.

DeBakey High School Principal Agnes Perry also encouraged meeting attendees to sign up for any of the nine committees set up at her school to help with the planning process. They include panels on transportation, logistics, safety, and security.

“We need the help, support and ideas from everyone,” Perry said. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to give input, submit ideas, and make suggestions.”

DeBakey staff will host the next meeting with committee members on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the school.

DeBakey is among the first group of 17 schools slated for construction, all of which are planned for groundbreakings by the end of 2014, if not sooner. All of the other schools will be phased in over the next five years with all construction under way by 2017. The district’s goal is to finish all work by 2020.