It’s been several years since students at Yates High School had a swim team. But with the completion of the school’s new natatorium set for April, students are one step closer to making that team a reality once again.
Construction on the school’s natatorium and four-lane practice pool is 55 percent complete. The building’s exterior walls – which feature large garage-style overhead coiling doors that allow fresh air inside and have fencing at each opening to maintain a secure perimeter — were built first to ensure interior pool construction would not be affected by wet weather.
The pool’s concrete foundation was laid in January, and pool walls are now being constructed. The project is expected to wrap up later this semester.
Festive music and cheers filled the air of the new Yates High School as students danced their way into the new facility to kick off the 2018-2019 school year.
More than 20 alumni — donning crimson and gold — gathered at the school’s main entrance chanting the school song as the band and color guard performed for students and staff in celebration of the new facility.
“The building brings life to Yates and the community,” said Yates alumnus Marcus Brooks, who is also the father to a current Yates senior. “It’s something new and fresh for the kids.”
Large science labs, the gymnasium, and views of the Houston skyline were just some of the highlights seen by Project Advisory Team members as they were led on a tour of the new Yates High School on Thursday.
As attendees made their way through the facility making stops in the auditorium, dining commons, and JROTC spaces, the group huddled up near the large windows of a second-floor extended learning area to take in a full view of the University of Houston’s TDECU Stadium.
Currently the construction project is 85 percent complete with interior finishes — flooring, painting and ceiling tile installation — underway. All sidewalks and driveways have been poured and science lab equipment has been installed. Furniture selections will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Construction of the new Yates High School is more than halfway complete, with crews already in the process of installing floors, painting walls, laying pavers, pouring sidewalks, and erecting permanent fencing.
A CenterPoint transformer and meter also has been set, meaning power soon will be connected to the building, allowing crews to begin testing mechanical systems inside the building.
The main entry facing north is nearly complete, with the main entry facing south and building signage soon to follow. The elevator also will soon be installed, and project officials plan to begin ordering new furniture in January.
When construction of the new Yates High School is complete next year, it will offer unparalleled views of the city with Downtown Houston to the north, Texas Medical Center to the south, and the Galleria to the west.
The 360-degree view — which includes University of Houston to the east and Texas Southern University to the west — is already visible from top floors of the building, the construction of which is almost a quarter of the way completed.
“It’s starting to move very quickly,” said Yates Principal Ken Davis, who got his first glimpse at the new school during a recent Project Advisory Team meeting and site visit. “I’m excited about that. It’s an exciting feeling to know it is happening. After years of planning, it’s actually happening.”
The Lion’s Den at Jack Yates High School roared with excitement as the graduating Class of 2017 scribbled their signatures on the final steel beam to be erected in the construction of their new school.
Once all seniors had signed, they joined with school staff to watch as the beam was hoisted into the air and placed in its new home — the auditorium. The beam will be installed and left exposed, showcasing the signatures from the class of 2017.
“The kids were concerned that they weren’t going to have any history with the new school since they’ll be graduating in May,” said Yates Principal Ken Davis, who worked with the construction staff to surprise the students with the informal ceremony. “We told them that we were going to sign the beam — a little bit of history about you will go into the new building.”
Yates High School Principal Ken Davis made an impassioned promise Thursday as he spoke to the crowd of students, alumni and school supporters who gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for their new $59.4 million school.
“I pledge to you, just as I have the community and the children I serve, I’m going to do my very best to make their dreams come true,” Davis said, applause erupting throughout the auditorium as he spoke. “I may not get to the mountain top with you, but I’m going to make sure the road is paved for you to get there.”
Yates High School will hold a groundbreaking ceremony this morning to officially mark the start of construction on the school’s new $59.4 million facility.
Scores of students, staff, alumni, elected officials, and district and community leaders are expected to attend the groundbreaking for Yates, which is among 40 schools across the district being renovated or rebuilt as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program.
The groundbreaking is being held at 9 a.m. oat the Yates High School campus, 3703 Sampson St.
Yates will receive a new $59.4 million school to accommodate 1,300 to 1,500 students. The building will have a grand entryway with large windows that connects the front and back entrances and additional learning spaces designed to accommodate the school’s career and technology programming including the communications magnet.
Other features include a three-story academic wing with flexible core learning centers, and a one-story high volume performance wing with an auditorium, spaces for fine arts and JROTC, a gymnasium, and athletics area.
Abatement is underway on the Phase I buildings slated to be demolished to make room for the new school. Construction on the new building will start in the first quarter of 2016, with a target completion of first quarter 2018.