Kashmere High School construction plan approved

The HISD Board of Education unanimously awarded a construction contract that will bring much needed building improvements to Kashmere High School.

Kashmere is joining nearly two dozen schools under construction thanks to the voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. The board awarded Kashmere’s contract to DT Construction for a total cost that will not exceed $14.1 million.

“We are excited to give Kashmere students a campus that reflects the community’s proud history,” said Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, who represents the Kashmere area. “Kashmere is gaining strong momentum academically and this major renovation will further establish the campus as a center of community activity.”

Located on Houston’s northeast side, Kashmere was built in 1969 and last renovated in 2000. Design plans call for the four main campus buildings to be merged into one, and the school’s center courtyard to be enclosed, creating a large indoor flexible space with natural light for year-round use. Plans also include an updated front entrance.

Construction at Kashmere could begin by early summer, with work complete within a year.

The Kashmere community is invited to learn more about the project at a community meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at Kashmere High School, 6900 Wileyvale Road.

Rusk School redesign approved

Also Thursday, HISD trustees unanimously approved a plan to gradually transition the Rusk School into a middle school campus with a magnet program with a health and medical focus, similar to the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan. The change is being made in anticipation of the Star of Hope Mission’s impending relocation outside of the current Rusk attendance boundary.

“We are committed to giving Rusk the resources it needs to remain a strong neighborhood school while also providing all HISD students with another great magnet option,” said Trustee Diana Dávila, who represents the Rusk community.

Priority admission will be given to middle school students who live within the current Rusk attendance boundary. Remaining seats will be open to all HISD students using a random lottery.

Under the plan, Rusk will no longer house students in grades Pre-K through 2 after the current school year.  Next school year (2016-2017), Pre-K students living in the current Rusk attendance boundary will be rezoned to the Ninfa Laurenzo Early Childhood Center, and students in grades kindergarten through second will be rezoned to Lantrip and Burnet elementary schools. Grades 3 through 5 will be phased out one grade level at a time over three years, starting with third grade in the 2017-18 school year, with those students also being rezoned to Lantrip and Burnet.