Northside HS community celebrates construction progress, leaves mark on new school

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Festive music filled the air at Northside High School on Wednesday as alumni and community members walked along a Panther-purple carpet into a wall-signing celebration held to mark the construction progress made at the school.

About 200 attendees were treated to student performances and heard from guest speakers before being invited to add their signatures to special wall panels, which will be permanently exhibited in the new building.

“Generations upon generations have entered these doors,” Northside Principal Cecilia Gonzales said. “Today they can leave their mark, which will be on display for generations to come. It’s really exciting.”

Northside is one of 40 schools across the district being renovated or rebuilt as part of HISD’s 2012 Bond Program. The school is receiving two new additions, which feature modern spaces for science, culinary arts, and performing arts, as well as major renovations to the historic main building, which was built in 1928.

The $66.4 million, multi-phase construction project is now more than halfway complete, and portions of the building are being turned over for use as they are finished. The entire project is expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2019.

“This building is a symbol of our commitment to educate our students,” HISD Trustee Elizabeth Santos said. “We’re tying the old in with the new – moving forward together without forgetting our past.”

Senior Class President Jacqueline Hernandez emceed the program, which featured performances by the schools choir, mariachi, and Pantherettes dance team, as well as remarks from HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, HISD Northwest Area Superintendent Steven Gutierrez, Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Vice President John Marshall, and Northside PTO Representative Venus Rodriguez.

“This building is much more than brick and mortar,” Carranza said. “What this represents is an investment by the community and taxpayers in this school that we lovingly call Northside High School.”

As guests signed the wall and enjoyed refreshments after the ceremony, they were serenaded by Carranza, who joined the Northside student mariachi group for an impromptu performance.

Several current and former elected officials attended the celebration, including HISD Trustee Anne Sung, State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Houston City Councilmember Karla Cisneros, and former HISD Trustee Anna Eastman.

Construction is currently underway at roughly two dozen campuses across the district, and half of all bond projects are now finished and open to students. Once complete, HISD will feature 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.