Mickey Leland College Prep stakeholders briefed on plans for new school

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The Mickey Leland College Prep Academy community turned out in force this week to hear about the latest plans for their school’s new 21st century campus. More than 125 attended the presentation given by the architect and project manager, which offered the opportunity to view renderings up close and give feedback.

The new school will be built on the site of the former Wheatley/E.O. Smith building in the Fifth Ward, and the design plans include several features that will incorporate and honor the history and accomplishments of that school and its alumni.

“I’m glad we can help preserve the history of the Fifth Ward in our new school,” said Dameion Crook, principal of Leland Prep. “I am happy with the plans and very excited to move forward with construction.”

The project team has narrowed the building’s facade design down to two options. Option A has a historical feel with an entrance that closely resembles the old Wheatley building. Option B also incorporates elements of the Wheatley building, but with a more modern approach.

“I think it will be a very nice building either way, but I’m a history teacher, so I prefer the more historical one – Option A,” said Leland Prep teacher Scott Schultz.

“I like Option B – make the new building more modern and innovative,” parent Monique Edmonson said. “It’s about the memory of the person, not the stone and brick and walls.”

As part of HISD’s bond program, $42.4 million was budgeted to build the new school, which will accommodate up to 1,000 students.

“I think the architects did a great job in capturing all of the things the community asked for,” said HISD Trustee and Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones. “I know the new school will be wonderful and have some of the best programming possible for the boys.”

The school became an all-male college preparatory academy in 2011, and was renamed after the late Congressman and Fifth Ward native Mickey Leland in 2014. Students who attend Leland College Prep experience a small and inclusive environment, enriched with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math.