A large crowd of students and staff welcomed a host of elected officials, alumni, and public safety officials to the official grand opening for the newly built, 105,000-square-foot High School for Law and Justice.
Positioned on the central grand staircase, the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Art’s jazz band provided an array of up-tempo musical selections, helping to kick off the celebration.
“This is your campus. Your tax dollars paid for this, and I want to thank each and every one of you for making this possible,” HISD Board of Education District VIII Trustee Diana Dávila said. “Our students are going to reap the rewards on Monday when they walk onto this campus.”
The $39.9 million project, which was funded with a combination of real estate proceeds and bond funds, is one of 40 schools being rebuilt or renovated as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program.
The three-story building features a large, central learning stairway, a sky bridge that connects the second and third floors across a large open commons area, and an outdoor patio that overlooks the Houston skyline.
“These spaces are more than just unique features. They are learning spaces that have the potential to spark the minds and imaginations of students,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “With this new facility, Law and Justice students have the chance to go on to become leaders in their field and change this world for the better.”
City of Houston Director of Education Juliet Stipeche, a former HISD board member and HSLJ alumna, couldn’t contain her excitement as she reminisced about the start of the school’s construction.
“It has been a privilege and honor to be a part of the process to get where we are today,” Stipeche said. “The future stands with us today.”
In addition to traditional high school spaces for JROTC, athletics, and fine arts, the new campus features a realistic courtroom classroom, crime-scene investigations labs, an emergency communications center, and a law library.
“The school is from head-to-toe glamorous. It represents everything that students want,” said JROTC First Lt. Cecilia Marenco, who is a senior at the school. “The common areas give us a chance to build new experiences, specifically where we can study, talk to each other, and conference with teachers.”
Joining in the day’s festivities were Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, both of whom addressed the crowd. A representative from the office of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz presented the school with a congratulatory letter and a state flag that had been flown over the U.S. capitol. The offices of Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee both presented the school with certificates of recognition.
Also in attendance were State Reps. Carol Alvarado and Mary Ann Perez, City Council Members Jack Christie and Robert Gallegos, and a host of other dignitaries, elected officials, and law enforcement officers.
HSLJ is one of 13 schools set to open to students for the first time this fall for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. HSLJ Principal Carol Mosteit beamed with pride as she mentioned how eager she was to welcome students to their new home for the first day of school.
“I am so honored and privileged to lead this campus,” Mosteit said, smiling at the crowd. “It means a lot to me, and I can’t wait until Monday for the students to come through the doors of this school.”
Construction is underway at about two dozen campuses. More than 70 percent of all 2012 Bond projects are complete, and that number is expected to top 80 percent by the end of 2018. Once all projects are finished, HISD will have 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.