Hispanic Advisory Committee Urged to Help Get Word Out About 2012 Bond

Members of HISD's Hispanic Advisory Committee hears an update on the 2012 bond program.

A key part of the 2012 bond program is keeping Houston’s diverse communities up-to-date on what’s happening at their neighborhood schools.

Assisting in that effort is HISD’s Hispanic Advisory Committee, which heard firsthand Thursday about its important role in reaching out to the city’s Latino residents.

“We need you to get the word out,” said Blanca Nelly Saldana, HISD community liaison for Strategic Partnerships. “That’s where we want you to make an impact.”

Members of the Hispanic Advisory Committee will have a lot to talk about in the coming months as the planning and design of 21 schools gets under way, including all 17 schools slated for the first phase of construction and four high schools included in the second phase.

Sue Robertson, HISD general manager for Facilities Planning, updated the group on the ongoing process to select architects to design the schools. To date, the Board of Education has authorized the district to negotiate contracts with 11 firms on selection projects, including middle school restroom renovations and new facilities for Worthing High School and Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion School.

More recommendations are expected in the coming weeks as district administrators continue to review architect qualifications. Robertson said all of the architects will engage with each school community to make the design process as inclusive as possible and to ensure the new buildings work within each unique neighborhood.

She encouraged members of the Hispanic Advisory Committee to take part in the Project Advisory Teams — groups of parents, teachers, students and community members that will help guide and oversee the design and construction of each school.

“Engaging the community is really a critical part of what we do,” she said.

In the coming months, more outreach events are planned, including community events at bond campuses and design workshops.

“This is re-creating a generation of new schools,” Robertson said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a city and it’s amazing to be part of.”