Bond Oversight Committee members receive program update, tour Barbara Jordan Career Center

The HISD Bond Oversight Committee got an up-close look at the new Barbara Jordan Career Center during their second quarter meeting Tuesday.  

Committee members made their way up the school’s modern learning stairs and through hallways filled with natural light and turquoise accent walls. The group took pictures along the way and tried on a simulator helmet in the welding classroom.   

The tour — led by Principal Ross McAlpine, HISD Construction Services Senior Manager Sizwe Lewis, and HISD Project Manager Zorana Marquez-Campos — made stops in the school’s health science classroom, and cosmetology, automotive and diesel, culinary, welding, and construction management labs.  

“We’re excited about the opportunities we provide to students,” said McAlpine, whose students spend half their day at their home school and half their day at Jordan studying specialized career curriculum. “We have a great building. This is a great team that has put it together and allowed us to work in this wonderful building.” 

Following the tour, the committee met in the school’s library to discuss the latest update on the 2012 Bond Program, which calls for the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools. Once complete, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the nation.  

Construction Services General Manager Andreas Peeples said only Lamar, Northside, Austin, and Bellaire high schools remain under active construction.  

“We are still holding at 85 percent as of the end of last quarter,” he said, referring to the overall rate of completion.  

Lamar construction was 76 percent complete at the end of the second quarter, with the school’s new academic building set to open this month. Northside finished out the second quarter at 88 percent complete with the new performing arts wing also set to open this month.   

At Austin, new window installations and interior framing brought the project to 47 percent completion. Meanwhile, Bellaire’s second phase of construction is 18 percent done, with site development coming soon.   

The committee also discussed major realignment projects at Westbury High School and Pilgrim Academy. Although not part of the original scope of work, the board-approved realignment projects are funded by surplus bond funds. 

The final piers for Westbury’s fine arts wing are being poured, and work is underway on administrative areas, with the project slated to open next August. Pilgrim Academy’s three new classrooms are complete and opening this month.  

The Bond Oversight Committee is an independent citizens committee tasked with monitoring the progress of the district’s 2012 Bond program and ensuring revenues are spent appropriately. The group meets quarterly to review construction progress, financial reports, minority- and women-owned business participation, and community engagement efforts.