Construction at Bellaire High School marked a significant construction milestone this month, as the new building reached its topping out point.
Topping out refers to the act of placing the last steel beam atop a structure’s highest point. Bellaire students, faculty, and alumni celebrated the occasion by signing a large white beam that was then placed above what will become the school’s natatorium.
“Having the Class of 2020, our faculty, staff, alumni, and friends sign the beam was a wonderful gesture to ensure that all the elements that make a school community will forever be a part of this new building,” Bellaire Principal Michael McDonough said.
The $141.5 million project is 30 percent complete, with the new building expected to be ready for occupancy by summer 2021. After this, the existing building will be demolished, and construction of the parking garage and administration wing will begin.
Underground work has been completed and concrete slabs have been poured, including the upper floors of the academic and athletic wings. All steel has been erected in the academic, performing arts, and common areas.
Steel erection is ongoing in the athletics area and is expected to wrap up this month. Exterior framing, and brick and window installation are underway in the academic wing, along with overhead piping and ductwork.
The new facility will incorporate the existing science wing and feature a new three-story academic wing with multiple flexible learning areas for student collaboration, a library with makerspace, and an exterior courtyard.
The new building will also feature a fine arts wing containing a 900-seat auditorium and black box theater. The design also includes a large dining commons area and physical education wing with two gymnasiums.
“Each day as I come to campus, it has been amazing to see the transformation happening on the project,” McDonough said. “This new building and all its features will enable us to prepare our students in powerful ways. And once complete, the facility will strengthen the presence of Bellaire High School in the larger community.”
Students will remain on campus for the duration of the work with little to no class disruption. Bellaire’s completion will bring to a close the 2012 Bond Program, which called for the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools, including 29 high schools, across the district.
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