2-day workshop focuses on design plans for Waltrip, Worthing

Project Advisory Teams (PATs) for Waltrip and Worthing high schools were asked to think about functionality while discussing design concepts Wednesday for their new building renovations.

 (Houston Independent School District)

PAT members from Worthing High School collaborate on ideas for a new school.

“Instead of thinking about what color the building will be or what kind of brick it will have, think about collaboration, seamless technology,” said HISD General Manager of Facilities Design Dan Bankhead. “Those are the kinds of things we need to keep at the forefront.”

The teams – comprised of faculty, parents and alumni – participated in a two-day design workshop with architects to develop design plans for the building renovations at Waltrip and a new facility at Worthing. The projects will be funded by the HISD bond program, and construction is expected to begin mid to late 2014.

 (Houston Independent School District)

An architect with Gensler gathers ideas for building renovations at Waltrip High School.

Under the bond program, HISD will build and renovate 40 schools that will model 21st century learning environments that bring today’s schools into the modern age through design, technology, and new ways of delivering instruction. Design charrettes are being held for each campus to outline goals and aspirations for the new schools.

The Waltrip PAT shared ideas for their building project to include a new and more inviting school entrance, additional laboratories, extended learning areas, a band practice room and improved athletic and performance arts facilities.

“Mostly what we learned today are what their building priorities are for the renovation as far as the function and adjacency of their spaces go,” said architect Kimberly Hickson of Gensler, the firm selected to design the new spaces at Waltrip. “They want people who drive by to feel like, ‘Wow, this is a 21st century school.’”

The Worthing PAT discussed the organization of their building and where academic, athletic, performance arts and other departments could be located in the new facility. Worthing will receive a two-story building addition under HISD’s 2007 bond program and a new building under HISD’s 2012 $1.89 billion bond program.

The school’s principal, John Modest, would like the new facility to have a more grand and secure main entrance. The team also exchanged thoughts on ways to better integrate academic core areas with the school’s career and technology education programs in agriculture, hotel management, information technology, and health sciences.

“From a college and career perspective, we need to make sure that our new building helps us to produce students who are truly prepared and skilled for the 21st century, “Modest said.