Energy Institute HS celebrates grand opening of new facility

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Known for its innovation, Energy Institute — which once programmed robots to shovel dirt at its groundbreaking ceremony — decided to forego a traditional ribbon-cutting, and instead have students use a circular saw to cut a wooden board laser printed with the school’s logo. The cut pieces were then presented to special guests at the event.

“What a journey,” Energy Principal Lori Lambropoulos said as she looked out to the crowd. “This school is the first one of its kind in the nation, and we could not have done any of this without all of you in this room.”

The 114,000-square-foot facility is comprised of three separate buildings that incorporate innovative learning spaces designed to encourage project-based collaboration and communication and showcase students’ high-tech projects and presentations.

“The new Energy Institute High School is simply magnificent,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “This campus really captures the essence of a high-tech corporate environment.”

Glass garage-style doors installed in most classrooms provide transparency, allowing students and staff to view work and projects going on throughout the building. A central courtyard connects the buildings and features a large covered learning staircase as its centerpiece.

“I’m continually amazed at how purposefully the school was designed for students and project-based learning,” Energy sophomore Benjamin Barnes said. “We aspire to be problem-solvers of the future, and Energy Institute is helping us to make an impact.”

During the event, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee expressed her support and best wishes to the school via telephone, and Senator Ted Cruz’s office presented a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol Building.

“We’re home,” Lambropoulos said. “I can’t wait to see where we go from here.”

Energy Institute is one of 13 schools that opened for the start of the 2018-2019 school year and is funded with district resources unrelated to the 2012 Bond Program. More than 70 percent of all school construction projects are now complete, and that number is expected to top 80 percent by the end of 2018.

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