Bellaire HS students weigh in on updated designs for new school

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Students at Bellaire High School on Monday heard from the project architect during a lunchtime meeting sponsored by the student council about the latest plans for the school’s new 21st century campus.

Ashley Moody is a member of the student-led group and spearheaded the effort to organize the meeting.

“We felt like students didn’t know what was happening with the new building, so we wanted to provide an opportunity to ask questions and give suggestions to the people who are actually designing the new campus,” Moody said.

Each school being rebuilt or renovated under the 2012 bond program is holding at least three community meetings, but this is the first student-led effort to influence the process, and Bellaire Principal Mike McDonough is not surprised.

“Our kids are very driven. They are self-starters and want to know what’s going on,” McDonough said. “I’m proud of them for taking the initiative on this. They’re invested in the school, and it’s important to them.”

Sam Savage, project manager for PBK Architects, presented an overview of the current site plans and answered questions from students on topics ranging from the size of classrooms and fine arts spaces to parking issues and the construction timeline.

Steven Gee, HISD construction program manager, participated in the meeting and was impressed with the level of interest expressed by those in attendance.

“I think it’s great that they have such pride in their school,” Gee said. “Most of them know they won’t be here when the project is completed, but they’re taking ownership in it anyway. They still care about building a great school for future students.”

Bellaire High School currently serves more than 3,600 students and includes a variety of special programs, including IB and World Languages.

The existing main building was built in 1955 with an addition completed in 1981. The new school will incorporate the recently completed science classroom and laboratory wing, as well as the current auditorium.