The familiar hoots and hollers of classmates returning to campus on the first day of school were replaced by “oohs” and “aahs” as students entered the new Bellaire High School for the first time on Monday.
Eleventh-grader Carter Sasser said everyone gathered at school early to meet up with friends and get their first glimpse of the new building.
“This place is impressive, especially the new pool and gym and the new lockers,” Sasser said. “The stairs are commons areas we didn’t have in the old building.”
Sasser and his classmates were among tens of thousands of students to return to classrooms on Monday — the first day of school in the Houston Independent School District and the officially opening of Bellaire’s new academic, fine arts, and physical education wings.
The construction project is part of the 2012 Bond program, which calls for the renovation or reconstruction of 40 schools, including 29 high schools. Bellaire is the final project under construction.
“I love the new classrooms,” senior Evelyn Bell said. “It’s like being in a high school you only see in the movies!”
The new wings offer classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art instructional technology, giving campus leaders and teachers the ability to adapt to the changing learning environment.
With the first phase of the construction project complete, crews are now working on the second and final phase — demolishing the original 60-year-old building to make way for an athletics field with artificial turf and a new track, administration wing, and four-story, 700-space parking garage.
Construction is expected to wrap up by the end of 2022.
“We are proud of the building we have,” Bellaire High School Principal Michael McDonough said, noting it was a result of collaboration between HISD, the community, and the City of Bellaire. “With one year to go on the final phase, we’re really excited about what that will bring.”