With most of the country shut down in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve, HISD’s Construction Services — designated an essential service — is continuing to work on school construction across the district.
HISD Construction General Manager Andreas Peeples said construction is expected to continue as allowable under public health guidelines but noted that required public health measures are affecting normal operations.
“We must comply with requirements that individuals must remain at least six feet from any other person,” Peeples said. “This is important, but it does result in inefficiencies in mobilizing labor and materials and a general reduction in labor forces.”
Ongoing projects include Lamar, Austin, and Bellaire high schools, which are among 40 schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of the district’s 2012 Bond Program.
Also underway are 2012 Bond realignment projects, including Westbury High School’s fine arts wing, Sharpstown International School’s dining canopy, and natatoriums at Milby, Washington, and Yates high schools. These are new, board-approved projects that were not part of the original scope of work but are funded by surplus bond funds.
Additionally, work continues to rebuild four elementary schools — Scarborough, Braeburn, Kolter, and Mitchell — that sustained significant damage due to Hurricane Harvey. These projects are not funded by the bond program but are overseen by Bond and Construction Services staff.
Peeples said the department must continue to focus on building schools to ensure students and staff have facilities upon their anticipated return.
“Construction of school facilities must continue throughout this period to mitigate future impacts to an already burdened academic system,” Peeples said. “In addition to providing key learning spaces, these facilities also serve the needs of the public by providing areas of refuge, childcare, and spaces for outdoor activity and community meetings.”