Bond Oversight Committee updated on school construction; 13 campuses set to open

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The 2018-2019 school year is shaping up to be a busy one for the Houston Independent School District, with 13 new campuses opening next month and five more slated to open in January.

The Bond Oversight Committee learned about the progress of the projects during their quarterly meeting on Tuesday.

To date, the district has opened 27 bond and non-bond projects and expects the current portfolio of building programs to surpass 80 percent completion by the end of 2018.

“I’m excited about these new openings and all the progress in the last year,” Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders said. “We’re hitting a lot of milestones, which is really energizing the team as we push toward the finish.”

New schools set to open for the start of the 2018-2019 school year include Askew Elementary School, Lawson Middle School, High School for Law and Justice, and Yates, Washington, and Energy Institute high schools.

Campuses that have completed renovations or additions and are set to open in August include Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy, Eastwood and Pilgrim academies, Garden Oaks and Wilson Montessori Schools, and Hilliard Elementary School. The temporary campus that will house Braeburn Elementary School will also open this fall.

During their meeting, committee members got to tour the new Booker T. Washington High School as final preparations are being made for its August opening. Principal Carlos Philips and Facilities Design General Manager Dan Bankhead led the committee on a tour of Washington’s new $56.5 million campus.

The campus was designed to showcase the school’s engineering magnet program using 21st century technology, specialized engineering and science labs, and flexible learning spaces that support project-based learning and encourage collaboration.

“All these new schools are impressive,” BOC member Bob Eury said. “What struck me about this school is the creative use and amount of flexible space and the large amount of natural light.”

As the 13 schools prepare to open shortly, several others will open at the beginning of the year. Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Wharton Dual Language Academy, and Worthing (phase two), Jordan, and Madison High Schools will all open in January 2019.

As the program moves on to significant completion, HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones thanked members for their service on the Bond Oversight Committee and reminded them of the importance of their support.

“I’m very proud of the work that’s gone in to these new schools,” Skillern-Jones said. “We couldn’t do it without you.”

HISD’s $1.89 billion bond program was approved by Houston voters in 2012. In addition to campus-based projects, the program also includes work benefiting students across the district, including $100 million in technology upgrades, $44.7 million to replace regional fieldhouses and improve athletics facilities, $35 million to renovate middle school restrooms, and $17.3 million for safety and security improvements.

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