Eastwood Academy to open new CTE building by year’s end

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Students returning to Eastwood Academy this fall will see plenty of construction activity around the campus as crews work to finish the first addition — known as the blue wing — in time for a December move-in.

“We were hoping that the entire project would be finished by December, but we understand things can change for a variety of reasons,” Eastwood Academy Principal Brandi Lira said. “I see progress every day and will be happy to move into the blue wing in a few months.”

The project has seen delays due largely to unforeseen conditions, including the discovery of a large in-ground swimming pool, which had been filled with dirt and camouflaged with ground cover. Workers also found underground utility lines and storage spaces that were not documented on city site maps.

The phased $10.9 million project features two additions, which will connect to the school’s existing two-story classroom wing and contain a new student dining and multipurpose area, a library, an athletics facility, and a career and technical education center that will house Eastwood’s engineering and cyber security programs.

The new blue wing also will feature a makerspace lab, which will be available for use by other schools in Eastwood’s feeder pattern.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to provide our students with spaces that are conducive to project- and problem-based learning,” Lira said. “I also look forward to sharing our makerspace lab with the community.”

Once students and staff have moved into the blue wing, the front section of the existing building will be demolished, and the second addition will be constructed. The entire project is expected to be finished in the second quarter of 2018.

Eastwood is among 40 HISD campuses, including 29 high schools, being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Active construction is underway on roughly three dozen campuses across the district. Almost half of the schools in the program will be complete and open to students by the end of the summer. Once all work is finished, the district will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.