Excavators roared to life at Bellaire High School last month, marking the beginning of construction on the new facility and a significant milestone in the 2012 Bond Program, as all remaining projects are now underway.
The first phase of construction — also known as pre-construction — includes installation of underground detention and site utilities, demolition of the Career and Technology Education building, and creation of a temporary parking area to replace the South Rice Boulevard lot, which will become part of the construction site.
Pre-construction work is expected to run through the end of the year. Bellaire summer school classes were relocated to Pin Oak Middle School to accommodate construction, but students will return to the campus for the 2018-2019 school year.
“I’m excited to get this project started,” Bellaire Principal Michael McDonough said. “I am confident that the final product will be a modern building that supports the programs that our students and parents value the most, while maintaining the high standards of the Bellaire community.”
Plans for the $132 million project allow the district to maximize space on the 18-acre campus by relocating baseball and softball practice fields to a site about two miles away.
The new school will incorporate the existing newer science wing and feature a three-story academic wing containing most of the school’s classroom spaces, along with multiple flexible learning areas to further develop student creativity, collaboration, and communication.
A new fine arts wing will contain a 900-seat auditorium and a black box theater, along with band, guitar, dance, and choir rooms. The design also includes a large dining commons area and a physical education wing with a new swimming pool and two gymnasiums.
The project’s second phase — construction of the main building — is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019 and take about 30 months to complete. Students will remain on campus for the duration.
Once construction on the main portion is complete, crews will begin the third and final phase — demolition of the existing facility and construction of administrative offices, a four-level parking garage, and an athletics field with artificial turf and a new track. This phase will take an additional 12 months to complete.
A community meeting is being planned for the fall to brief school stakeholders on design and construction plans.
Bellaire is among 40 schools, including 29 high schools, being renovated or rebuilt as part of the district’s 2012 Bond Program. More than 50 percent of all bond projects are now finished and open to students, and that number is expected to grow to 80 percent by the end of the year.
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