Following a purple carpeted path, students, staff, and community members walked through an inflatable Panther tunnel, that led to a dining commons area decorated with purple and silver balloons in celebration of the Northside High School grand opening ceremony.
Festive holiday music filled the space as guests heard student performances from the Northside High School Jazz Band, Dancing Pantherettes, Choir, Ballet Folklórico, and Cheerleaders.
“This campus not only allows us to clearly express ourselves, but it inspires us to be more creative,” Northside Senior Jacquelin Ricalday said. “It’s great for current students, future students, and our community overall.”
Built as a part of the 2012 Bond Program, the $66 million project features two new additions for culinary and fine arts, along with renovations designed to modernize classrooms and labs while preserving the original building’s historic facade. Exterior windows were also replaced, and additional windows were installed to bring in more natural light.
Principal Cecilia Gonzalez said the new additions to the school — such as the fine arts wing and culinary program kitchen — mark a significant milestone in the school’s nearly 100-year-old history.
“Many people worked very hard to ensure this day would happen. Thank you,” Gonzalez said.
HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan thanked the students and staff for their patience during the construction process.
“When schools like Northside go through a major renovation, they are living and learning in the midst of progress,” Lathan said. “I want to thank all of you for sticking with it and seeing the process through.”
HISD Board of Education Trustee Elizabeth Santos is a former Northside teacher, and her mother is a graduate. She said the school is a source of pride in the community.
“There’s no spirit like the spirit of Northside,” Santos said. “This community is like no other.”
Several dignitaries were also in attendance, including U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia via video, State Senator Carol Alvarado, and representatives from the offices of County Commissioner Adrian Garcia and Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros.
Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a reception featuring international desserts created by the school’s Culinary Arts students.
Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.