Lamar HS Project Advisory Team gets first look inside new building

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Soaking up striking views of the Galleria to the west and Downtown Houston to the east, Lamar High School Project Advisory Team members got their first look inside the school’s new four-story addition.

Members were shown a 3-D printed model of the campus and then given the opportunity to walk through the steel structure, up to the fourth floor of the academic wing, where they could view construction progress.

The $129.2 million project, part of HISD’s 2012 Bond Program, is now about 40 percent complete. Site pier and pile drilling has been completed, as has steel installation on the first and second floors. Permanent power is scheduled to be connected in the third quarter.

“We put a lot of thought into the design of this building, and I think it’s really coming together,” Lamar Principal James McSwain said. “We tried to incorporate flexibility for the future into every area, so our design will withstand the test of time.”

Concrete is being poured for the third and fourth level slab-on-deck floors. Foundation work on the parking garage and athletics area also is underway, as is installation of overhead mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

“Seeing where students will get to experience this new space is really exciting,” Lamar Instructional Specialist Keri-Ann King said. “The juxtaposition of our landmark school next to this modern building is amazing. The old and new are coming together.”

The new building will feature 16 large, flexible academic areas to facilitate the school’s interdisciplinary and project-based approach to learning. It also features a large covered drive for bus and parent drop-off, a black box theater and band instruction area, a large banquet and food preparation space for the school’s culinary program, and other career and technical education spaces.

Among the more unique features of the new facility are retail storefronts for Smart Financial Center and Minuti Coffee. Both companies are working with the school to provide training and employment opportunities for students.

“I think it’s going to be amazing,” said Sarah Thweatt, Lamar PAT member and parent. “It will be a beautiful space to support our new way of learning.”

The existing main building will be renovated and 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 is expected to be complete and open to students in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Additional site work — including demolition of some existing structures and installation of athletics fields — will follow.

View construction progress in real time.

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. More than half of all projects in the 2012 Bond Program are already complete and open to students. Once all projects are finished, HISD will boast one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the nation.

Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.