Bond Oversight Committee tours Sam Houston MSTC, looks ahead to future plans

While Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center students made their way to classes Tuesday morning, the HISD Bond Oversight Committee strolled through the hallways to see the new school in action.  

Led by Associate Principal Ryan Hutchings and HISD Construction Services Senior Manager Sizwe Lewis, the group made stops in the school’s dining commons, cosmetology, robotics and math labs, gymnasium, and auditorium.  

The Bond Oversight Committee is an independent citizens’ committee tasked with monitoring the bond program, ensuring revenues are spent appropriately, and evaluating program risks and controls. The group meets quarterly. 

After completing the tour, the committee gathered for the remainder of their meeting and received an update on the progress of the 2012 Bond Program.  

Construction Services General Manager Andreas Peeples informed the committee that the overall rate of completion for the 2012 Bond Program remains at 85 percent. Only four bond schools — Lamar, Bellaire, Northside, and Austin high schools — remain under construction as part of their original scope of work. 

“Things are progressing with the last four major projects we have,” he said. 

Peeples reported that construction at Austin High School — which is scheduled to open in time for the 2020-2021 school year — is 60 percent complete, with window installation and interior construction work in progress. Construction at Bellaire High School is 18 percent complete, with move-in planned for summer 2021.  

Renovation work continues at Lamar High School, Peeples said, with the completion of the new academic building bringing the project to 55 percent complete. Construction at Northside High School stands at 97 percent complete, with courtyard improvements nearly complete. Both schools had new buildings that opened to students at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.  

The committee also received an update on the schools being rebuilt due to damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey. The original structures are no longer standing, and active construction sites have taken their place as the district rebuilds the once-damaged campuses.  

To commemorate the rebuilding progress, construction celebrations were held for Braeburn, Scarborough, and Kolter elementary schools in September and for Mitchell Elementary School in October.  

Also during the meeting, committee members were updated on the financial status of the 2012 Bond Program, as well as minority- and women-owned business enterprise participation rates, which continue to track above board-established goals.