Sam Houston MSTC construction ‘tops out’ as project passes halfway mark

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Work on the new Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center came to a temporary halt on Friday as the project team celebrated the building’s “topping out” after reaching the highest point in construction.

Nearly 200 contractors and sub-contractors gathered in the school’s main gymnasium, which is still under construction, where they enjoyed a barbecue lunch, door prizes, and entertainment from Houston MSTC Mariachis.

Satterfield & Pontikes President and Chief Executive Officer George Pontikes said he wanted to thank the team for bringing the project to the halfway point and motivate them to finish strong as they see the remainder of project through to the end.

“I’ve been to a lot of topping out parties, but none like this one,” Pontikes said of the festive atmosphere. “This is a chance for everyone involved to take a look at where we’ve been, and see what we need to do to finish the job.”

Sam Houston MSTC is among 40 schools, including 29 high schools, being renovated or rebuilt as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. Construction on the new $118.9 million facility is now more than 50 percent complete, with permanent power expected to be connected this quarter.

Installation of all tilt-walls, roofing, and structural steel decking and bracing is now complete. Work on mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, including the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, is ongoing. Crews also are working on interior fireproofing and drywall installation.

During the event, Houston MSTC Principal Alan Summers and members of the project team signed a steel canopy beam that will be placed atop the structure.

“We’re getting so much closer to getting our kids into a state-of-the-art building,” Summers said. “It’s really exciting.”

The 360,000-square-foot facility will have a collegiate feel with plenty of classroom space, informal meeting areas to facilitate project-based learning, and a large outdoor courtyard. The building also will feature a grand learning stairway, which will function as both a gathering spot for students, as well as a flexible space for class lectures and presentations.

View construction progress in real time.

The three-story school is designed to accommodate 2,550 to 2,750 students and incorporate an existing science classroom and laboratory wing. Other design highlights include an updated JROTC area and a fine arts wing with an 800-seat auditorium and black box theater.

Construction is scheduled to be finished by the fourth quarter of 2019, though project managers indicate the building could be ready ahead of schedule. Once the main building is complete, crews will begin demolition of the original structure and installation of athletics fields and additional parking.

Construction is underway at roughly two dozen campuses throughout the district. More than 50 percent of all 2012 Bond projects are now complete and open to students, and that number is expected to rise to 80 percent by the end of 2018. Once all projects are finished, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in America.

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