Construction on both Sharpstown High School (SHS) and Sharpstown International School (SIS), located on the city’s southwest side, is progressing well and expected to be complete in the third quarter of next year.
The schools are part of HISD’s $1.89 billion bond program approved by Houston voters in 2012, which will rebuild or renovate 40 schools, including 29 high schools. Once complete, HISD will have one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.
SHS is receiving a new $55 million building designed to accommodate 1,500 students. Currently, steel columns and beams are being erected on the site and a portion of the roof has been installed. In December, the building is expected to be fully dried-in.
“Our schedule was impacted by all the rain we had earlier in the year, but we’ve been working with the contractor to recover that time,” said Vincent Maresca, SHS project manager. “We’re currently about 30 percent complete, and on track to be 100 percent in the third quarter 2017.”
Maresca said the team is working to make up for the weather delays in several ways, including putting more workers on site and using two cranes instead of one.
The new school will feature a two-story, light-filled atrium, classrooms equipped with modern technology and grouped into neighborhoods, flexible learning spaces, a large dining commons, gymnasium, JROTC building and fine arts wing.
Sharpstown International School (SIS) is undergoing $6 million in renovations to its existing building, a project that also has a target completion in the third quarter of next year.
“This is a relatively small project when compared to some of the other construction across the district, but it will make a big difference for the students and teachers,” said SIS Project Manager Brian Alling. “We’re converting the main breezeway, which was largely open to the elements, into an enclosed area with flexibility to be used in a variety of ways. The front entrance has also been designed to be more secure and inviting.”
The renovation 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 and flex lab spaces.
The main entrance will be retrofitted with a security vestibule that will provide controlled access and also give the building an updated, modern feel. The main existing corridors, which are covered and partially open to the elements, will be updated, enclosed and air conditioned to make the space more inviting and usable for a variety of student and community activities. A pod of flexible learning spaces will be constructed in the heart of the campus, which is currently an internal courtyard
SIS was created through the 2011-2012 consolidation of Sharpstown Middle School and the International High School at Sharpstown, a partnership between the district and the Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network. The school offers an international studies magnet program, and was the first in HISD to offer a magnet program for students in grades 6-12.
HISD opened six new schools in August of this year and expects to have 35 projects under active construction by the end of 2016. The bond program also includes $44.7 million to replace regional fieldhouses and improve athletics facilities, $35 million to renovate middle school restrooms, and $17.3 million for safety and security improvements.