Wharton DLA construction project nears halfway mark

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Construction on the new Wharton Dual Language Academy is almost halfway complete, with structural steel erected for the building addition and exterior and interior wall framing underway.

Roof installation and interior wall framing of the existing building also are nearly complete, and the parking and driveway areas have been poured.

“We’re looking forward to having a modern, 21st-century building,” Wharton Principal Jennifer Day said, noting that she and her staff were already looking forward to moving into the facility. “I love how the design incorporates the historical building with the new.”

The $39.2 million addition and renovation project is part of the district’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. Plans call for the original 88-year-old building to undergo a complete interior renovation while maintaining much of its original façade. It will be connected to a new, three-story addition, which will be located at the rear of the building.

Once complete, the expanded facility will feature new learning spaces and labs, a new gym and library, an interior courtyard that preserves heritage trees, and a grand, three-story glass entryway. It will accommodate 750 to 900 students.

The original building will house classrooms for the school’s youngest students. The first floor of the new addition will house an administrative suite, classrooms, kitchen and dining commons, and performing arts spaces.

The second floor will feature additional classrooms and labs, as well as a new gym with a performance platform, and fitness and locker rooms. The third floor will contain classrooms and labs, as well as teacher-preparation areas.

Additionally, the front of the school will now face west, with the main entrance off Columbus Street and visible from its nearby intersection with West Gray Street.

Construction is slated for completion during the fourth quarter of 2018.

Wharton is among 40 schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Half of all projects are now finished and open to students. Once all work is finished, 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 updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.