Lee HS community briefed on construction plans for new school

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A community meeting was held Monday evening to discuss design plans and the construction timeline for the new 21st century campus at Lee High School.

Through HISD’s 2012 bond program, $73.8 million has been allocated to build the new Lee HS campus. The new 240,000-square-foot facility will include state-of-the-art technology with flexibility to allow for future upgrades. The two-story school will be divided into four neighborhood wings with open spaces and plenty of windows to maximize natural light.

“Lee has a great history at this location, and the new building is the latest in a list of exciting things going on here” said HISD District VII Trustee Harvin Moore. “I’m excited to see the progress. I think the design of the new campus will effectively meet the needs of the school and community well into the future.”

The main entrance to the school will remain on the north, so the campus will keep its historical Beverly Hill address. It will also feature a light-filled atrium, internal courtyard, large dinning commons and a natatorium.

“There is a lot to like about the design – plenty of natural light, openness and small group learning and tutoring areas” said Lee High School Principal Jonathan Trinh. “It will provide a college-type format for student learning. I think it will draw kids who are going outside the neighborhood back to their home school.”

The project is expected to take 18 to 20 months from groundbreaking to moving into the new building. Students will remain in the current building while the new one is erected adjacent to the school. Once the new building is complete, the current building will be demolished then new athletic fields and additional parking will be built on that site.

“We’re taking every precaution to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the project, and we’re committed to minimizing the impact on school activities and the community,” said Ken Smith, Vice President of Satterfield & Pontikes, the general contractor for the school.

The construction area will be fenced off from the school to provide both a physical and visual barrier to the activities. Workers will not have any interaction with students or school staff, and all workers will undergo a background check and will be badged.

“It has a sophisticated feel about it that our students will love,” said Lee HS Assistant Principal Joseph Mata. “I think it is going to help revitalize the neighborhood and be a catalyst for change in the community.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014.