Scarborough High School senior Melanie Esquivel remembers all too well how often the school band has been shuffled around over the last few years.
They practiced first in the dance hall and then in the gym, but the acoustics amped up their sound so much teachers in nearby classrooms often complained. So they moved into the cramped black box theater, where they made do.
“I almost cried when I saw it. It’s just so emotional. I’ve been waiting so long for it,” the 17-year-old flutist said, hardly able to contain her excitement as she pointed out features of the school’s new band hall. “We’re finally like a big part of the school.”
The band hall is located in the new 13,000-square-foot fine arts and JROTC building, an addition constructed as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program.
The $14.6 million project also included extensive renovations to the existing building, including a new welcome center, upgraded cafeteria and snack bar, renovated gym, and renovated classrooms, hallways, and career and technical education spaces.
“People don’t realize how impactful it is to have building that’s safe and comfortable for learning,” Scarborough High School Principal Rod Trevino said as he walked the halls Monday. “It will drive instruction because students will want to come to this school and teachers will love teaching in a great environment where 21st century technology is in place and the building, itself, is comfortable.”
Crews are continuing to finish site work, including installation of exterior stucco, as well a new tennis court, baseball field dugout, and exterior landscaping.
Many of the renovations to the main building were completed last summer and opened to students last fall. But Monday marked the first day the new addition was open to fine arts and JROTC students. The excitement was palpable as both students and teachers admired their new spaces.
“The classrooms are really nice. They’re a lot brighter — we have more windows here, more natural light coming in,” said Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Louis King, who serves as an instructor for Scarborough’s JROTC program. “I really think that the environment is going to be really good for our kids.”
Scarborough is among 40 schools, including 29 high schools, being renovated or rebuilt across the district as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Construction is currently underway at roughly two dozen campuses, and almost 50 percent of all 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.
Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest construction updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.