Sharpstown International School holds second bond community meeting

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Sharpstown International School held its second community meeting on Tuesday to brief more than 50 students, parents and community members on district plans to renovate its existing campus.

“The (Project Advisory Team) and design team worked very hard for the last eight months for the vision and future of Sharpstown International,” said Michael Sabouni, architect at Autoarch Architects. “We are very happy to share the journey of success of how will we transfer a school built 50 years ago into a 21st century educational facility that is going to serve us for an additional 50 years.”

The renovation project for the 6th- to 12th-grade campus is part of HISD’s current bond program and is comprised of three portions: updating and securing the main entrance, renovating the large breezeways to provide more flexible learning spaces, and building additional learning centers or flex lab spaces. SIS will receive $6.1 million toward its project.

“Our children will have flexible space, technology, and it will be filled with furniture that would allow them to conduct learning anywhere inside of the campus,” said Sharpstown International Principal Thuy Le-Thai.

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Attendees were also briefed on a new administration proposal that would provide $211 million in supplemental funding for the 2012 bond program. This funding is being considered due to an unprecedented spike in construction costs, and will be voted on by trustees at the upcoming Oct. 15 Board of Education meeting.

“When the bond was planned, budgets were set at a certain level and there was money included for inflation,” said Sue Robertson, HISD General Manager of Facilities Planning. “However, the rate of inflation has gone up way faster than we thought it would. At this point, the Board is considering an additional amount of money to help fund this increase in inflation to make up the difference so that the scope of what you have already seen can be accomplished.”

More information on the Sharpstown International School project

Plan’s for the school’s main entrance include retrofitting for a security vestibule, which will provide controlled access and also give the building an updated modern feel. Ricardo Benavides, a 9th-grader at Sharpstown International, says he likes the new entrance and additional security features of the school to create a safer campus.

“We will now have secure doors and strangers won’t be able to come into our school,” Benavides said. “It all looks good to me, so I’m excited.”

An area of flexible learning spaces will be constructed in the heart of the campus, where an internal courtyard is currently located. The main existing corridors will be updated, enclosed and air conditioned, allowing the space to be inviting and usable for a variety of student and community activities.

“I think what we are presenting will create the excitement and vision for our children,” Le-Thai said. “What we are doing isn’t to last one or two years, but will last 30-50 years.”