Energy Institute High School students, staff, and community members on Tuesday attended the second community meeting to hear about progress on a new $37 million school for the nation’s first energy studies high school.
The planned 110,000-square-foot building mimics the look of a high-tech corporate environment, with three main buildings that will have multi-level areas for work and projects. A central courtyard with cascading stairs and trellis will expand available space for socializing and learning, and will be visible from the entryway stairs. The school is designed for project-based learning, with areas for collaboration and focused study.
Tim Kunz, with VLK Architects, went over those details with the crowd of nearly 50 people. He said coming up with a dynamic design has been the result of an effective partnership with the school and its Project Advisory Team.
“I think it’s been great,” Kunz said. “We’ve had tremendous feedback on monthly basis on the design process – and the major pieces that we took from the charrette have been captured in the design.”
The community meeting was held at the Energy Institute’s temporary location at 1808 Sampson in Houston’s Third Ward. The new school, which is using funding sources unrelated to the 2012 bond, will be built for 800 students on 12 acres of district-owned land along Southmore Boulevard at Tierwester.
“This new building for our Energy students and our future Energy students, we believe, is really breaking ground in how we are rethinking education all across America,” Principal Lori Lambropoulos told those in attendance.
Paula Frank, who has an 11th-grade son at Energy, came to the meeting to get more information on the project schedule. She said the new school is going to improve on what already is a successful program.
“The benefits are going to be great,” she said. “There are more class areas and separate class areas – it’s good that they won’t be confined to single spaces.”
Lambropoulos said the new building will give students the best advantage in their future careers, with a cutting-edge approach to learning.
“We’re really excited about what we’re doing here at Energy,” Lambropoulos said. “We are developing a different kind of kid and helping them to become professionals.”
Construction is expected to start in January, with a target opening in the third quarter of 2017.