Workers prepare foundation for new Lamar HS

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Though there’s not much to see above ground, construction at Lamar High School is well underway, as crews are drilling piers and preparing to lay the foundation for the campus’ new addition.

As part of that foundation work, crews soon will begin installing grade beams and pouring the concrete slab. Once the groundwork and foundation are complete, installation of steel columns and beams will follow, taking the project vertical by year’s end.

“Once this project gets out of the ground, it will be easy to see progress almost every day,” said Heery International Project Manager Marvin Stone, who oversees the Lamar construction for the Houston Independent School District. “Stay tuned. This will be a fun project to watch.”

Lamar is among 40 schools, including 29 high schools, across the district being renovated or rebuilt as part of the district’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. The $122.9 million project calls for a new facility that preserves the architecturally significant building structure and accommodates up to 3,100 students.

Since breaking ground this past spring, workers have re-routed underground utilities, relocated the central utility plant, and demolished a small portion of the current building that stood in the footprint of the new construction.

Stakeholders can view construction progress anytime via a webcam installed at the site.

The existing main building with the well-known art deco facade facing Westheimer Road to continue to serve as the main entrance to the school. It will house the existing auditorium, an alumni center, a child-care facility for faculty and staff, and a performing arts area.

The new building, featuring four large flexible academic areas, is being constructed on the east side of the campus, perpendicular to the existing building. To accommodate the school’s new academic model, students will be separated by grade level with each organized into self-contained neighborhoods of about 200 or fewer students. Students in each neighborhood will be taught by a team of interdisciplinary teachers who will place an emphasis on project-based learning and have the flexibility to set their own schedule.

Construction of the new facility is expected to run through the second quarter of 2019, followed by continued site development to demolish existing buildings and rebuild athletics fields.

Bond construction is currently underway at more than two dozen campuses in HISD. About 50 percent of bond projects are now complete and open to students. Once all work is done, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.