A visit to two innovative Houston area schools Friday left the Worthing High School Project Advisory Team feeling inspired about the building of its new campus.
“The entrance of this school is amazing,” said Worthing sophomore Xavier Kyles while touring Carl S. Wunsche Senior High School in Spring. “You can see everything because of the huge slanted glass windows.”
The Project Advisory Team (PAT), comprised of students, faculty, architects and HISD facility planners, also toured Salyards Middle School in Cypress to see 21st century learning facilities and get ideas for the redesign of Worthing’s campus, which will receive a two-story addition under HISD’s 2007 bond program and a new building under HISD’s 2012 $1.89 billion bond program.
Such tours are being held for all the Project Advisory Teams to help bond campuses visualize the possibilities for their schools.
Snapping photos and taking notes, the Worthing PAT visited Wunsche’s classrooms, Internet cafe, museum, culinary kitchen, daycare center, mock courtroom, auto shop, medical laboratories and fitness center. The team was impressed with the school’s wide hallways, decorated with college flags and inspirational banners. The group also liked the open design concept, common areas, and safety and technology features at both campuses.
“At Salyards, there was a smartboard in every classroom,” said Worthing junior Heaven Murphy. “We don’t have that at Worthing. We also don’t have this many labs. We have a lot of classrooms, but we only have one lab.”
Wunsche, built in 2006, offers a college- and career-ready academics program that includes tracks in professional, medical and technology studies for students to take courses in subjects such as business, law, medicine, animation and automotive technology.
“This school is tailor made for whatever career path the students are interested in,” said Worthing school secretary Denetris Jones, who took pictures throughout the tour. She plans to help her students create a PowerPoint presentation of their site visits to show faculty, staff and classmates. The students will also launch an online questionnaire to survey classmates on design features they’d like to see in the new campus.
“The learning centers at Wunsche are so innovative compared to a traditional school design concept,” said project architect Noe Almaguer of Molina Walker Architects, Inc., the firm designing Worthing’s new campus. “Look at the slanted curtain wall, the common areas, and the flex spaces. You see this type of innovation throughout the campus.”
As Worthing’s Project Advisory Team is busy visualizing new possibilities for the school, construction crews are busy working on its 88,000-square-foot building addition, funded under the district’s 2007 bond program. Last week, crews worked on investigating storm sewers, locating utility lines to ensure the site has proper drainage and moving dirt off of pier caps to secure the building foundation.
“We want to see this project move and grow, but we have to make sure we’re being smart with the community’s resources, “said project manager Ronald Roberts of the Kwame Building Group. “We want to give the community a school it can be proud of.”