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Stakeholders of Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center were briefed this week on initial design plans for the school’s new building.
As part of HISD’s current bond program, Houston MSTC will receive a $101.4 million building that will accommodate up to 2,700 students.
“Not only will we have traditional classroom spaces and learning commons areas, but we’ll also have industry-specific classrooms in at least eight different vocations in which we provide training and certification,” said Houston MSTC Principal Rupak Gandhi.
In addition to providing a comprehensive high school curriculum that emphasizes math, science and technology, the school also offers licensing programs and vocational certification in a variety of trades including auto mechanics, plumbing, and cosmetology.
The new school will be designed to have a collegiate feel with a large open courtyard that will also function as a flexible learning space. The classrooms and labs will feature large windows to incorporate transparency throughout, enabling programs and student projects to be on display.
“The design will allow the school to spotlight what they are doing in science, math and technology,” said Steve Parker, the project’s architect. “We’re going to have a space in the school where robotics are not only visible in the classroom, but when you go up to the second floor, you can look down and see what projects they’re working on.”
Students have been actively involved in the Project Advisory Team for the new building and have provided valuable insights throughout the planning process.
“I feel good about the plans and feel like the team liked our ideas,” said Jesus Perales, PAT member and a junior at Houston MSTC. “They took some of my suggestions such as making the walls in common areas into white boards, so students can work on group projects when they are hanging out.”
About 35 community members attended the meeting, where they had the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback at this initial design stage. Some parents had concerns about academic programs and the capacity of the new school, while others appreciated the open concept designs and the revitalization it will bring to the neighborhood.
“I had about 25 questions and they were all answered, so I feel like the district took my constructive feedback into consideration,” said parent Maria Mendoza. “It’s a good effort. It’s tremendously exciting to have this new school.”
This was the first of three community meetings that will be held at various stages of the project to brief stakeholders on the plans and to obtain their feedback.
“It’s critical that we have community members that are here, they’re persistent and they’re giving their voice to the project,” said HISD District 1 Trustee Anna Eastman, who represents Sam Houston MSTC. “It was nice tonight to see that there were people here who had seen this process work, it’s important for their voices to be heard.”