Flurry of Activity to Ensure Campuses are Prepared for Students

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With school about to start, HISD staff and construction workers are working around the clock to ensure all of the district’s 282 schools are ready for students when they walk in the door on Aug. 26.

“We’re committed to creating facilities that support academic achievement and ensure safety,” said HISD’s Officer of Construction & Facility Services Robert L. Sands, Jr. “Every HISD family should feel confident that their child’s school is clean, well-maintained and ready for learning.”

This summer has been especially busy with more than 60 building projects in full swing after the school year ended on June 6. The work marks another milestone in the 2007 bond program, which has included more than 180 expansion, renovation and maintenance projects across the district.

“We’ve been tackling a long list of work this summer,” said HISD’s General Manager of Construction Dillon Brady. “We are pleased with the progress and will be pushing hard to get it all done as scheduled.  Some schools will see construction continue in the coming months, but that is part of the master plan.”

When students return from summer vacation, they can expect to find renovated restrooms at Wainwright Elementary School and work continuing on additions at Southmayd Elementary School. Still, much of the work won’t be immediately visible, such as the improved HVAC systems at Sutton Elementary and new fire, PA, and security systems at Deady Middle School.

“Much of the 2007 bond program was focused on improving schools’ mechanical systems,” Brady said. “That kind of work is really behind the walls and not obvious to students and staff. But that type of work goes a long way in improving the efficiency of a school and creates a better learning environment for our students.”

Students in the former North Forest ISD will notice big changes in their facilities when they return to school as part of HISD.  Workers have been painting, cleaning, mowing, improving security, and bringing all building systems up to code.

In addition to all the renovation projects this summer, the district will open three new schools within the 2007 bond program. Both Dogan and Atherton elementary schools will open for students for the 2013-2014 school year. Sherman Elementary will transition into its new facility during the fall semester.

The district is also re-opening several facilities after extensive renovations to house new educational initiatives, including the Energy Institute High School, located in a former elementary school at 812 W. 28th St. The former Ryan Middle School was also transformed with renovated science labs to house the new Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan.

“We are extremely proud of these buildings and think parents and students will be especially pleased with how they incorporate technology and flexible learning spaces that accommodate different styles of teaching and learning,” Sands said. “Our goal is to create buildings that really take our students and staff into the 21st century. We’re not just rebuilding what we had before.”

Here are some additional highlights of the 2007 bond work this summer:

  • At Durham Elementary, workers have re-graded and planted the courtyards, installed overlays of walkways for ADA compliance and improved the PA and alarm systems.
  • Dogan Elementary will open a new school for 750-students on Aug. 26. The facility is about 87,000 square feet and features natural light, bright colors and integrated technology. The school is under review for LEED certification.
  • At Southmayd Elementary, workers are renovating two classroom wings, including finishes, lighting, doors windows and HVAC. Student restrooms have also been upgraded and improved and workers have installed new fire alarm and public address systems.  In the coming months, workers will be installing permanent doors and renovating the administration area. The library and classroom wing will be completed later in the year. The final interior renovations and site improvements will be completed in the new year.
  • Cullen Middle School has new windows on the second floor, restroom renovations, new auditorium carpet and lighting, electrical and mechanical upgrades, and a refinished gym floor.  In the coming months, workers will install new fencing, new parking lots and sidewalks, new bleachers in the gym, additional window replacements, refinish the auditorium stage floor and make other site improvements.
  • Sutton Elementary has had its HVAC unit ventilators replaced in classrooms and new HVAC ductwork. Workers will be installing rooftop HVAC units and programming the mechanical equipment to maximize efficiency and air quality.
  • Revere Middle School has had restroom renovations on the first floor and new flooring throughout the second floor. Workers will be completing additional restroom renovations and entry door replacement in the coming months.
  • At T.H. Rogers, workers have remodeled the office and made improvements in the library, cafeteria and gym. More renovations are planned throughout the school year, including window replacement and new gym bleachers. HVAC work will continue during nights and weekends during the fall semester.
  • At Eastwood Academy, workers finished a new 35,000 square foot, two-story addition, as well as renovated the computer labs, cafeteria and serving lines.
  • At Parker Elementary, workers have installed new ADA toilet stalls, replaced some classroom HVAC units and made improvements to the parking lot. In the coming months, additional exterior lighting will be added to the facility.
  • At McReynolds Middle School, construction work over the summer included a new science wing, new parking lots and a bus lane, new emergency exit lighting, painting and finishes throughout the building, and restroom renovations. In the coming months, workers will be finishing up all these projects and adding new technology to the classrooms.
  • At the Rusk School, the facility underwent major HVAC upgrades, classroom renovations and electrical upgrades. In the coming months, other improvements will be made, including completion of the roofing, a new classroom wing and site improvements.