Sam Houston MSTC students return from holiday break to new building

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It was a seamless transition to the new Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center Monday as students entered the building for the first time.

“When I walked in for the first time, my jaw dropped. It literally looks like a college,” senior Yuri Caballero said. “There is so much light and space in here.”

Sam Houston MSTC is one of 29 high schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program.

The 360,000-square-foot, three-story facility – completed ahead of its scheduled fourth quarter 2019 date – accommodates up to 2,750 students. The building was designed to have a collegiate feel with plenty of classroom space, informal meeting areas to facilitate project-based learning, a large outdoor courtyard, and a fine arts wing with an 800-seat auditorium and black box theater.

The new school also features a grand learning stairway, which functions as both a gathering spot for students, as well as a flexible space for class lectures and presentations.

Principal Alan Summers said he and his staff strategically worked in the weeks leading up to the first day to ensure everything would go as smooth as possible for both students and teachers.

“We planned, and planned, and planned some more. We tried to think in terms of what it would be like to be a student showing up in a new building on day one,” Summers said.

“In addition to making sure we had plenty of signs and lots of volunteers to direct traffic, we posted maps of the building and had 360-degree video tours, so students could virtually walk through the building to see and orient themselves before arriving today.”

Senior Ray Guzman said he was impressed by the new school.

“After all the planning, this has actually become a reality. We are finally here, and we are stepping foot into this brand-new school,” Guzman said. “I really like how all of the windows flood in the light from outside which makes it bright and fresh.”

More than 80 percent of all HISD construction projects are now complete. Once all projects are done, HISD will boast of 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.