Bellaire HS gathers to celebrate start of construction on new building

The sun shone brightly upon Bellaire High School students, staff, and community members Tuesday as they gathered for the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony in honor of their new school.

“While the road has been challenging and the process arduous, I believe that we are now ready to build a school that exceeds our initial expectations and that will propel our students into the future,” Principal Michael McDonough said.

The $141.5 million project — which is a part of the 2012 Bond Program — will incorporate the existing science wing and feature a new three-story academic wing, with multiple flexible learning areas for group collaboration, library with makerspace, and an exterior courtyard.

Additional features of the building include a new fine arts wing containing a 900-seat auditorium and black box theater, along with band, guitar, dance, and choir rooms. The design also includes a large dining commons area and physical education wing with two gymnasiums.

“We are really glad for what our old school has been able to provide us,” said Bellaire senior Ruth Beauburn, who served as master of ceremonies. “But we are even more grateful to be able to welcome the new school, and everybody that will be here to support us during that journey.”

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan thanked staff, community members, and students for their passion during the design process.

“We saw students join in, roll up their sleeves, and take a seat at the table, eager to share their thoughts on how to make the new Bellaire High School a place where learning and imagination can take flight,” Lathan said.

Bellaire’s completion will bring the 2012 Bond Program to a close, after the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools, including 29 high schools, across the district.

“The new school will have an impact on this community for generations to come,” HISD Board of Education Trustee Sue Deigaard said. “It will build better lives for our children, and it will build confidence that we can accomplish great things together.”

The first phase of the project is nearing completion with abatement and demolition of the Career, Technology, Education (CTE) building, installation of the underground detention system and utilities, and construction of a temporary parking lot.

The project’s second phase — set to begin in the second quarter of this year — will include the demolition of the existing structure and construction of the administration areas, dining and learning commons, exterior courtyard, and a four-story parking garage. The third and final phase will include the completion of the athletic fields.

Students are slated to move in to the school in 2021, with all work to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022. Students will remain on campus for the duration of the work with little to no class disruption.

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