Extreme Makeover: Middle School Restroom Edition

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Student restrooms at 31 middle schools across HISD are being renovated with funds from the district’s $1.89 billion bond program. When completed, the remodeled facilities will be fully ADA accessible and include much needed upgrades.

Renovations at each campus will vary, but the total scope of work includes installation of new plumbing, sinks and fixtures, new toilets and urinals with automatic flush valves, and electric hand-dryers, as well as repairs to existing walls, and installation of new wall and floor tile, lighting, and painted gypsum board ceilings. New toilet partitions will be black with a textured surface to deter students from marking on them.

“The older schools tend to have much smaller restrooms, which is challenging from a design standpoint to make them fully accessible,” said Courtney Harper, president of Courtney Harper & Partners Architects and architect for 10 of the middle schools. “We plan for the future, to make (the restrooms) as long-lasting and durable as possible.”

Each restroom renovation generally takes about eight weeks to complete. However, since only a couple restrooms per school can be out of commission at the same time, some rather complex phasing is involved to ensure disruption to classes and other school activities is minimized.

“Phasing has really been the biggest challenge, working around the students and school schedules,” said Jerry Nobles, superintendent with Prime Contractors, the general contractor selected for several of the restroom projects. “Anything that causes noise we’ve got to do at night. We always do our demo in the evening because it’s so loud.”

Of the 31 middle schools, renovations are complete at eight campuses: Attucks, Deady, Fonville, Johnston, Key, McReynolds, Pershing, and Westbriar middle schools.

Renovations are ongoing at six more campuses: Fondren, Hartman, Thomas, Clifton, Henry, and Welch middle schools.

“When you add children into the mix, any renovation is going to be more difficult,” said Fondren Middle School Principal Monique Lewis, who is looking forward to her school’s restrooms being finished in the fall. “We really need the upgrades so we are staying flexible during construction and making it work.”

The HISD Board of Education in June gave approval to move forward with contracts at 13 more middle schools: Black, Lanier, Navarro, Burbank, Edison, Hamilton, Marshall, Ortiz, Holland, Stevenson, and Williams middle schools, and Sugar Grove and High School Ahead academies. Construction on this group will begin this summer.

The remaining four schools — Fleming, Hogg, and Pin Oak middle schools and Jane Long Academy — are expected to be out for bid by the end of the summer and under construction in the fall.

Through HISD’s voter-approved bond program, $35 million was designated for middle school restroom renovations. The program also includes rebuilding or renovating 40 schools, $100 million in technology upgrades, $44.7 million to replace regional fieldhouses and improve athletics facilities, and $17.3 million for safety and security improvements.

More information on HISD’s bond program