Houston Hispanic Architects & Engineers Group Hears Update on 2012 Bond

HISD COO Leo Bobadilla addresses the Houston Hispanic Architects & Engineers at a luncheon on Thursday.

More than 40 people turned out Thursday to hear an update on the 2012 bond program by HISD Chief Operating Officer Leo Bobadilla at a luncheon sponsored by the Houston Hispanic Architects & Engineers.

“The vision is simple,” he told the crowd. “Build 21st century schools that support 21st century learning.”

The actual process of building or renovating 40 schools across the district over the next eight years will be necessarily more complex. The key will be engaging everyone, from design professionals to parents, to make the bond program successful, Bobadilla said.

“We need help from people in this room to get all this work done,” he said.

The Houston Hispanic Architects & Engineers is looking forward to the 2012 bond program bringing new business opportunities to “large, medium and small-size firms,” according to President Linda Camacho.

See more photos from the luncheon

She said it was helpful for participants at Thursday’s luncheon to hear firsthand about the program, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

One issue discussed was the role of the architect in the design process. Bobadilla emphasized the importance of collaboration with the community at each bond campus, with meaningful engagement and sharing of ideas.

“We need to make sure our students have the spaces and the tools they need to succeed,” Bobadilla said. On Thursday, the Board of Education was set consider contracts with three firms on three 2012 bond projects, including Grady Middle School, Condit Elementary, and the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion K-8 School.

The recommendations are the latest in the program. On Feb. 14, the Board of Education authorized the district to execute contracts with eight firms on selected projects. Bobadilla said more recommendations would be forthcoming in the weeks to come as district officials continue to review the qualifications submitted by 85 architectural and engineering firms seeking to do work with the district under the 2012 bond program.

“We obviously want to move very quickly, but we also want to do this right,” he said.  “We need to take the time to consider everything very carefully.”