South Early College HS, Mandarin Chinese building projects go vertical

The new campuses for South Early College High School and Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School have reached a major milestone in the construction of both buildings as work crews have begun erecting steel columns and beams, taking the projects into the vertical phase of construction.

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“Construction is underway, [and] students, parents, and the community are excited about moving into the new space for the start of 2016-2017 school year,” said South Early College High School Principal Steven Gourrier.

A large crane arrived at the campus construction site this week and lifted into place the first two-story, concrete tilt wall panel.

As part of the district’s current bond program, the school will receive a new $13.5 million 57,000-square-foot facility, which will accommodate 400 students at 1990 Airport Blvd., on the campus of Houston Community College-South Campus.

South Early College HS project

The new campus is set to include flexible learning spaces that support the school’s technological programs, including robotics, computer technology and software engineering. Each lab is designed to include three learning centers with operable walls that open and close to create bigger learning spaces. The new two-story building is planned to be centered around an open courtyard that will serve a number of activities, including eating and studying.

Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School also reached a major construction milestone on its new building. On Monday, the last pour for the building took place to complete the entire building, and work crews began erecting vertical steel columns and beams.

“It’s a huge milestone for the project because once the steel goes up and the structure starts to be closed in, things move very fast,” said Tammie Newman, senior project manager with Satterfield and Pontikes Construction.

The $32.2 million school, which alternates instruction in English and Mandarin Chinese, is being built for up to 900 studentsin the 5400 block of W. Alabama, neighboring the School at St. George Place. New grade levels are being added each year until the school  becomes a pre-K through eighth-grade campus.

Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion project

Plans for the new 119,000-square-foot campus focus on a concept based on the Chinese characters for the sun and moon. The updated design for the cafeteria, gymnasium and community areas will represent the moon, while each classroom will receive more natural light to keep up with the theme of the sun. The common spaces also will allow for after-hours access for special events. The learning commons area will double as a classroom or lab to accommodate any future changes in its program.

“With the steel starting to go up, I know our parents, community and staff are excited to watch as the new [Mandarin Chinese] campus continues to take shape over the coming months,” said Chaolin Chang, principal at Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School.