While Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center students made their way to classes Tuesday morning, the HISD Bond Oversight Committee strolled through the hallways to see the new school in action.
Led by Associate Principal Ryan Hutchings and HISD Construction Services Senior Manager Sizwe Lewis, the group made stops in the school’s dining commons, cosmetology, robotics and math labs, gymnasium, and auditorium.
The Bond Oversight Committee is an independent citizens’ committee tasked with monitoring the bond program, ensuring revenues are spent appropriately, and evaluating program risks and controls. The group meets quarterly.
The school spirit was palpable as the Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center Mighty Tiger Marching Band played crowd-pumping music and the Tigerettes danced in fringed gold leotards with big bows fastened to their ponytails.
The performances were part of the school’s homecoming week festivities, which included a pep rally-style grand opening held to celebrate the new school and the impact it’s had on students, staff, and the community.
“Transitioning to this building has been a new beginning for everyone,” Sam Houston MSTC Senior Deann Mendoza said, noting that the new school changed her classmates’ attitudes. “The atmosphere here is different in a good way.”
Two schools built under the 2012 Bond Program have been recognized as outstanding projects by Learning by Design magazine.
Madison and Westbury high schools were included in the Fall 2019 edition of the magazine, which is a premier source for education design innovation and excellence. The magazine assembled a panel of six architects and education administrators to review projects from across the nation.
“It’s an honor to have Madison and Westbury high schools selected as outstanding projects by Learning by Design,” General Manager of Facilities Design Dan Bankhead said. “The two projects have provided students with modern learning spaces to support their academic efforts and we’re pleased that the work that went into these schools has been recognized by such a distinguished panel and notable publication.”
The autumn chill did not stop the Mitchell Elementary School community from gathering Thursday on the site where their new school soon will stand to celebrate the progress being made on their new building.
Students in matching yellow T-shirts kicked off the event with a heartwarming rendition of “There’s a Leader in Me.” Mitchell Principal Elizabeth Castillo-Guajardo then spoke to the crowd in English and Spanish.
“We are so proud of the resiliency everyone has shown throughout this process,” Castillo-Guajardo said. “Our new school will be a symbol of promise and hope that will propel our students into their bright future.”
Red, white, silver, and blue balloons were artfully arranged into columns and arches alongside a bright red carpet that guided guests to the dining commons, where rows of black chairs were lined up.
The celebratory décor created a festive atmosphere for the official grand opening of the new Madison High School, built as part of the district’s 2012 Bond Program and opened to students in January 2019.
“It’s the perfect place to create a better version of ourselves,” Madison Senior Class President and Student Council Vice President Mariana Martinez said of the new school. “We’re really thankful.”
Lamar High School 11th-grader Mackenzie Wilson is an active student. She plays volleyball and serves as student body president while also working on her International Baccalaureate diploma. After graduation, she hopes to study pathology or constitutional law.
Although she is confident in her academic endeavors, Wilson said it was easy to get lost in the crowd at Lamar — a sprawling campus home to about 3,000 students.
But when the school introduced its academic neighborhoods concept at the start of this school year, everything changed.
The new Austin High School soon will have permanent power, marking a significant development for the 2012 Bond project, which is tracking at 60 percent completion.
The $80.9 million project will feature flexible learning spaces and sound upgrades for the existing auditorium. The new school will also preserve the façade of the original main building, which was constructed in 1937.
The tilt-wall panels have been raised, the steel structures supporting them have been erected, and the floor slabs have been placed. The first layer of the roofing system has been installed. Transformers and switchgear are set, and wiring has been connected in preparation for permanent power.
Hundreds of Kolter Elementary School families gathered Saturday at the site where their old school once stood, eager to get a peek at concrete and steel rising up from the ground before them.
Many were clad in red and blue shirts adorned with a proud and determined message: “Hurricanes are strong. Kolter is stronger.” Others held white paper fans emblazoned with, “Consider me a big fan of the new Kolter Elementary.”
All were there to celebrate the construction progress on the foreign language magnet school, set to re-open next summer after being destroyed two years prior by Hurricane Harvey.
Girls in colorful, ruffled dresses with yellow ribbons in their hair waved their arms back and forth as boys in wide-brimmed black hats and red ties tapped their feet and wooden swords on the pavement.
Moving to the steady beat of mariachi music echoing through the air, the Ballet Folklorico energized the crowd gathered before them to celebrate the construction progress made on the new Scarborough Elementary School.
“We are Scarborough. Whatever it takes, together we can. No excuses,” said fifth-grader Jasmine Savala, who was adorned with a bright pink construction hat and matching vest.
Braeburn Elementary School students clad in bright green T-shirts braved the summer sun Saturday as they converged on a construction site that was once home to their old school.
The students sat with parents and friends, some under umbrellas and sipping ice-cold water, and gazed in amazement at the site before them — two stories of steel beams that soon will be transformed into their new school.
“We are so happy that this building will be our final Braeburn campus and the best one yet,” said fourth-grader Oscar Perez, whose words were then translated by fourth-grader Stanley Jimenez for the largely Spanish-speaking crowd. “When we saw the blueprint for our new school, we almost couldn’t believe that we would get to learn in such a beautiful building.”