Three HISD schools honored for exceptional design

Collaborative learning spaces and abundant natural light are the hallmarks of a trio of Houston Independent School District high schools now being recognized for their innovative designs.

The new buildings for Madison High School and Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center, as well as the addition and renovations to Northside High School, are three of just 48 projects across the state being recognized by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

“These awards are a testament to our focus on our students,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are proud to provide them with beautiful, functional spaces that foster learning and excitement. At the end of the day, it’s always about the kids.”

Part of the Exhibit of School Architecture, the awards are given annually and selected by a 12-member jury of school officials and design experts.

In addition to the awards, Northside High School received special recognition in the areas of Community and Planning, while Sam Houston MSTC HS was recognized in the areas of Value, Community, Planning, and School Transformation. 

“We are really proud of our team,” General Manager of Facilities Design Dan Bankhead said. “I am glad that they have recognized the efforts our team has put into trying to design unique and exceptional learning environments for students.”

All three projects were a part of the 2012 Bond Program, which called for the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools across the district.

The $94 million project at Madison features a brand new 265,000 square foot building designed by Huitt-Zollars. The centerpiece of the school is a two-story main foyer that doubles as a dining commons and gathering space. It opened to students in January 2019.

At Sam Houston MSTC, the new complex of two and three-story buildings totaling 360,000 square feet was designed by Stantec. The $118.6 million project features a collegiate layout with a learning staircase and informal meeting spaces for project-based learning. The school also opened in January 2019.

The renovations and additions at Northside were part of a $66 million project, designed by IBI Group, that included two additions for culinary and fine arts, modernization of classrooms and labs, and renovations to the historic architectural façade.

“We really did depart from our traditional school building model that we’ve done in the past,” Bankhead said. “It’s gratifying and also a very proud moment for a lot of people who put in a lot of work. These schools are exceptional and really speak to what we’re trying to create in HISD for our students, teachers, staff, and communities.”