HISD Project Advisory Teams tour 5 innovative schools in Seattle

HISD released a new video that takes you along a tour of some of the nation’s top 21st century learning facilities that district facility managers and Project Advisory Teams recently visited in the Seattle area.

See highlights from the Seattle tours

The group’s tour of collaborative, flexible and technology advanced educational spaces opened their eyes to unique and forward thinking design possibilities for the 40 schools HISD plans to rebuild and renovate under its 2012 bond program.

“Intentionally designing a product that is going to best suit our students to excel in life later on in a collaborative manner… I think that’s really what I got out of today,” said Arva Howard, who lives in the Yates High School community and participated in the tour. “For me, it’s been a game changer in thinking about things.”

The group toured five renovated or newly built educational facilities – the Allen Research Commons at the University of Washington, Nathan Hale High School, Valley View Middle School, Marysville Getchell High School and Raisbeck Aviation High School, which featured sliding whiteboards with hidden storage spaces, plasma TVs to show presentations, and student work spaces with laptops that raise out of the desk.

Allen Research Center, which was converted from a traditional library to a collaborative and modern learning space, includes an open presentation area, multiple laptop hookups, and several whiteboards for student use.

Nathan Hale High School, a renovation project in which the existing school was converted to a 21st century learning environment, features many glass walls, break out spaces for small groups, flexible learning areas, and an innovative 24-hour campus radio station.

“They changed the culture of the school, and then the building changed to reflect the culture,” said HISD senior project manager Gloria Barrera.

“I love that there were conference rooms outside of the actual classrooms where the students’ work was able to be displayed,” said Yates High School teacher Rene t 2012, was designed with an environmental theme with each level of the school as the sun, tte Brown about the campus.

Valley View Middle School, a new school that opened in Auguswater or earth level to encourage a sustainable feeling throughout the building. The building also included large extended learning areas and learning neighborhoods for the arts and technology.

“It was inviting, and I think it was a good mix of technology and print media,” said Bellaire High School librarian Carl Casteel. “The color, the views, which were amazing, just really said ‘Come on in. There’s something to be had here for you.’”

Marysville Getchell High School, comprised of four separate academies, is a $96 million project on a 38-acre site. The 192,000-square-feet campus includes academies in construction, engineering, bio sciences and medicine, and international communications. Each academy was built to serve 400 students.

“It just flowed really well from the pathways from school to school,” said Carmen Celeste Garcia, Dean of Instruction for North Houston Early College High School. “I felt like I was in a village of education.”