Almost half of the schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of the Houston Independent School District’s 2012 Bond Program will be complete and open to students by the end of this summer.
The Bond Program team expects to have 40 percent of all bond projects wrapped up and opening their doors by the end of the second quarter, HISD Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders told the Bond Oversight Committee on Tuesday during their regular quarterly meeting.
“Tremendous progress was made in the fourth quarter,” Sanders told the oversight committee. “This thing has taken shape. It’s real, and it’s way further along than what most people realize.”
HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program calls for the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools, including 29 high schools. Active construction is currently underway on roughly three dozen projects — more activity than at any other time in district history. Once all work is complete, the district will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.
The Bond Oversight Committee is an independent citizens’ committee charged with monitoring the progress of the district’s bond programs, ensuring revenues are spent appropriately, and evaluating program risks and controls. Sanders led the quarterly briefing, which included a status update on both recently-completed and soon-to-be completed projects. He noted that Sterling Aviation High School — the first new comprehensive high school built under the program — was the latest to open, formally welcoming students on Jan. 4, 2017.
Other projects completed in 2016 include North Houston Early College and South Early College high schools, Condit and Mark White elementary schools, Mandarin Immersion Magnet School, Tanglewood Middle School, and Worthing HS Phase 1, as well as renovations at Butler and Barnet stadiums. Fonwood Early Childhood Center also was completed last year, though it was not funded by the 2012 Bond.
Eight more projects are expected to wrap up in the coming months. Projects scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2017 include DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Waltrip High School, and Delmar Fieldhouse. Projects set for second quarter completion include Furr, Wisdom, and Milby high schools, as well as Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men and Sharpstown International School.
“Forty percent of projects will be completely done and open to the children,” Bond Oversight Committee Member Sonny Flores said as he and fellow committee members discussed the progress that was being made. “That’s pretty good. That’s a good number.”
Also during the meeting, Sanders introduced the committee to Brian Busby, HISD’s new chief operating officer, whose responsibilities include oversight of the bond program. Busby, an 18-year veteran of HISD, told the group he was committed to the district and the bond program.
“I’m more than just an employee. I’m a stakeholder,” Busby said, noting that he attended HISD schools, as do his children. “This is work that matters to me, and I look forward to supporting Derrick [Sanders] and his team in building new schools.”
The committee also heard reports on minority- and women- owned business enterprise participation rates, which are currently tracking ahead of established goals. They also received information on bond communications and community engagement activities, which included four groundbreaking ceremonies and four grand openings in the fourth quarter of 2016. Finance reports also were reviewed.
The next quarterly meeting will be held on April 25.
For more information about the Bond Oversight Committee or any HISD building program, visit www.BuildHISD.org.