Bond Oversight Committee tours Kinder HSPVA, hears bond program update

HISD’s Bond Oversight Committee toured the newly opened Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts on Tuesday at their quarterly meeting to review progress of the 2012 Bond Program.

HSPVA Principal Scott Allen and HISD General Manager of Facilities Design Dan Bankhead led the eight-member committee as they walked through the school’s grand entry hall, the 800-seat Denny Theater, the black box theater and the recital hall.

“These facilities match what theaters down the street have,” Allen said, referencing Houston’s renowned Theater District. “It’s great that our kids can experience this professional setting with state-of-the-art features.”

The tour also included a student exhibit in the visual arts wing and visits to the ceramic and sculpture studios, a recording studio, a creative writing lab, two-story high dance studios, the band and orchestra hall, and the choral music room.

“I expected something pretty nice, but not this nice,” BOC member Sonny Flores said. “All the art on the wall is impressive. But when you hear that students created it, it’s even more so. You can’t help but think some of these kids are really going places.”

After the tour, the committee was briefed on fourth quarter 2018 progress by General Manger of Construction Services Andreas Peeples.

“It was an exciting fourth quarter,” Peeples said. “We completed six brand-new schools, and that is a tremendous feat.”

Those schools, which opened in January, include Kinder HSPVA, Barbara Jordan Career Center, Wharton Dual Language Academy, Sam Houston Math Science and Technology Center, and Worthing and Madison high schools.

Peeples noted that with the latest round of openings, school construction is now 85 percent complete, with only four 2012 Bond projects – Lamar, Bellaire, Northside, and Austin high schools – remaining under construction and yet to open.

Looking ahead, Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby reported that the team is currently researching what projects a new bond program would encompass.

“We are looking from a strategic standpoint to where the district’s growth is,” Busby said. “We want the community to help us prioritize this and work with us to determine what is best for all the kids.”

Busby said the team is putting together a community engagement strategy and looking toward 2020 for putting forward a new bond referendum.

“This (bond) program has been a great success, and seeing the finished product, it is no wonder it’s gone extremely well,” BOC member Phoebe Tudor said of Kinder HSPVA. “I feel so proud and happy for Houston to have a school like this.”