Bond Oversight Committee updated on remaining school construction projects

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HISD’s Bond Oversight Committee gathered for their quarterly meeting on Tuesday to discuss the progress of 2012 Bond Program construction, which is 74 percent completed and expected to wrap up by 2020.

HISD Construction Services is expected to complete more than 80 percent of all planned school construction projects by the end of the year, including bond projects, and renovations and rebuilds related to Hurricane Harvey.

By early next year, only four bond schools — Lamar, Bellaire, Northside, and Austin high schools — will remain under construction.

“We’re at the tail end of this program,” Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders said. “I think people are starting to finally realize that.”

Thirteen schools opened new, renovated or temporary locations this past quarter, marking the largest number of school openings at one time in HISD history.

“That’s something that not only Construction Services, but HISD as a district should be very proud of,” Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby said.

Students at Energy Institute, Washington, and Yates high schools, High School for Law and Justice, Lawson Middle School, and Askew Elementary School started off the 2018-2019 school year in new campuses. Eastwood, Pilgrim, and Young Women’s College Preparatory academies, and Wilson and Garden Oaks Montessori schools welcomed back their students with new additions or renovated facilities.

Hilliard Elementary School also re-opened after an extensive renovation to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, a temporary location for Braeburn Elementary School students and staff was opened on the Welch Middle School campus, where they will stay while the Braeburn facility is rebuilt after sustaining severe damage during Hurricane Harvey.

In addition to Braeburn, Scarborough, Kolter, and Mitchell elementary schools also sustained significant damage during the storm. Abatement and demolition work at these four sites has been completed and the process for rebuilding is under way.

Six more schools are scheduled to open in January 2019, as students return from winter break: Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Jordan High School for Careers, Wharton Dual Language Academy, Houston Math Science and Technical Center, and Worthing and Madison high schools.

Busby said the team is now developing a potential project scope for a possible November 2019 bond. Any proposed bond still would need to be presented to the HISD Board of Education and approved by trustees before the district can move forward.

Craig Johnson, a member of the Bond Oversight Committee, said it’s important to rebuild the trust between the district and its stakeholders.