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Right on schedule, the fourth quarter of 2014 brought the beginning of construction for the 17 schools in Group 1 of HISD’s current bond program, bringing groundbreaking ceremonies and more activity to worksites across the district.
Stakeholders are enthusiastic about the progress and participated in several events recently to celebrate the milestone.
Worthing High School held a beam-signing ceremony on Dec. 11, and groundbreaking ceremonies were held for Milby High School on Dec. 18, DeBakey High School for Health Professions on Dec. 15, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) on Dec. 14, Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School on Dec. 8, and Condit Elementary on Nov. 1.
“Starting construction on 17 schools is no small feat,” said Robert L. Sands Jr., HISD’s officer of Construction & Facility Services. “I’m proud of everyone on our project team for their hard work and dedication to make this happen, and I’m confident that we’ll see this type of performance and progress continue in 2015.”
During the construction phase, contractors have implemented strict safety procedures to minimize the impact on students and the community. Both physical and visual barriers will be erected and remain around construction sites for the duration. No workers will have any interaction with students or staff and all workers on site will be badged.
Project teams have also made plans to ensure that student learning is not disrupted. During this phase, school principals and construction managers will communicate regularly to make sure testing dates and other key events are shared so contractors can be sensitive to school and community activities.
Also during the fourth quarter, the nine Group 2 schools progressed with their design, and will move into the construction phase in second half of 2015.
Project teams for the 14 schools in the last two groups got started ahead of schedule with the planning and design phase, putting Group 3 schools about six month ahead of schedule and Group 4 schools about 12 months ahead.
As part of the $1.89 billion bond program, 40 schools will be rebuilt or renovated. Students district-wide will benefit with significant technology upgrades, restroom improvements and upgraded athletic facilities.