Category Archives: Building Updates

As construction nears completion, Austin HS looks to the future

For more than 80 years, the red-bricked Austin High School has been a mainstay in the Eastwood community. With construction nearing completion, the new school now strikes a balance of the past and present.

The $80.9 million project features modern classrooms, flexible learning spaces, and sound and lighting upgrades to the existing auditorium. The Art Deco-influenced façade also has been preserved and refurbished as a part of the project.

“This school has been here for more than 80 years. It was important to keep a part of this building that has been present in this community for so long,” Austin Principal Steve Guerrero said. “The entire building is just phenomenal. It feels very grand with lots of natural light. Every single part of the building is exciting.”

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Principals of schools damaged by Hurricane Harvey excited to return ‘home’

A new school year typically brings a mix of emotions for Kolter Elementary School Principal Julie Dickinson. Feelings of excitement mingled with the hope that everything will run smoothly.

As Dickinson readies for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, she is once again experiencing those same feelings, but this time they’re tinged with the promise of new beginnings.

“There was a huge loss to get where we are today,” Dickinson said. “But I can’t think of a more deserving community.”

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For Mitchell ES family, new school signals renewed hope

For the past three years, Carla Garcia and her 9-year-old daughter Kaitlyn commuted about 25 minutes every morning to get to Mitchell Elementary School, despite living just across the street from the school.

The original Mitchell was damaged beyond repair when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, forcing students and staff to move about nine miles away to the former Caldwell Elementary School — their temporary home for the past three years.

With the new and improved Mitchell nearly complete, Garcia and Kaitlyn will once again be able to walk to school in the mornings.

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No access to HISD schools, facilities from July 3-19 due to increasing COVID-19 cases across Houston

The Houston Independent School District is restricting access to all district schools and facilities from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 19, in response to public health guidance and an increasing number of COVID-19 cases throughout the city.

All summer athletic practices and in-person summer school sessions are canceled. HISD students will be allowed to keep laptops until the fall rather than return them to campus, eliminating the need to bring additional staff and families on site.

The district continues to operate virtually and will continue to provide educational and related services during this disruption of normal district operations.  Employees reporting to a location as a part of their assigned duties will continue to practice social distancing and wear appropriate personal protective equipment in accordance with district policy and public health guidelines.  The Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center will remain open for limited purposes.

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Delayed opening for four schools being rebuilt due to damage from Hurricane Harvey

The four elementary schools being rebuilt as a result of Hurricane Harvey are now scheduled to open in August 2020 — a three-month delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kolter, Braeburn, Mitchell, and Scarborough elementary schools were originally scheduled to open in June 2020.

HISD Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders said the new timeline is a result of manpower shortages caused by mandated social distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bellaire HS construction surpasses halfway mark

Construction at Bellaire High School is now more than 50 percent complete, with the new school expected to be ready for students this time next year.

Crews have installed the roof structure for the new building, which includes wings for academics, fine arts, and physical education. The academic wing is now closed in and air-conditioned, with construction crews currently working on the finishing touches, including tiling and flooring.

Crews also are working on overhead construction in the auditorium high ceilings, digging out the pool and diving well, and construction of the interior walls in the athletics area. Air conditioning is expected to be flowing through the entire building by the end of July.

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Construction continues on 2012 Bond realignment projects

Although the Houston Independent School District is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction work has continued on several 2012 Bond realignment projects across the district.

Realignment projects are new, board-approved projects that were not part of the original scope of work but are funded by surplus bond funds. The projects include natatoriums at Milby, Washington, and Yates high schools, Westbury High School’s fine arts wing, and Sharpstown International School’s dining canopy.

Milby’s natatorium is 98 percent complete. Construction Services is coordinating with HISD Technology and HISD Security Maintenance for remaining minor work. The pool will be ready for the 2020-2021 school year.

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Austin HS to open in January 2021 due to COVID-19

The new Austin High School is now scheduled to open in January 2021 — a delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school was originally scheduled to open in August 2020. HISD Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders said the new timeline was due to a three-month delay in the school’s furniture shipment and manpower shortages caused by mandated social distancing requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin will remain at its current temporary learning center located across South Lockwood Drive until the new facility opens.

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Lamar HS construction nears completion

Construction at Lamar High School is continuing, as allowable under the public health guidelines, with renovations to the original building now 80 percent complete.

The renovation work, designed to preserve the building’s historically significant architecture, included the construction of a new child care wing, welcome center, and updated ROTC and Career and Technical Education classrooms.

The athletic fields — including football, baseball, softball, soccer practice fields — and tennis courts also are underway.

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Scarborough ES construction 94 percent complete

Construction at the new Scarborough Elementary School is steadily progressing, despite the district being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work on the campus has continued, as allowable under the public health guidelines, with a reduction of the workforce to adhere to social distancing requirements.

The $23 million project is tracking at 94 percent completion, with site work, paving, underground utilities, structural steel, roofing, interior wall systems, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installation complete. Exterior wall systems and interior finishes are ongoing.

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