The Houston Independent School District’s efforts to save energy and reduce utility costs are paying off in a major way.
The district received more than $342,000 through the CenterPoint Energy SCORE program, which rewards school districts with cash incentives for implementing energy saving projects and strategies.
The incentives were due in large part of the work of two departments — Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations and Construction Services. Together, they helped the district more than triple the amount received during the previous 2017-2018 earning period.
Austin High School seniors Daniel Miranda and Jesus Cantu greeted each other as they made their way through their school’s dining commons, stopping to soak in their new surroundings before the first bell rang.
“It looks futuristic,” Miranda said, first looking up at the contemporary lighting and then down below at the dining tabletops featuring the school’s mustang mascot.
“Futuristic?” Cantu asked with a laugh. “I think you mean modern.”
Anticipating a surge of calls as students began returning to classrooms in September, Customer Care and Operations Senior Manager Delorian Moore began preparing her team of customer service representatives over the summer.
To prepare for the potential increase, she first guided the team through COVID-19 online safety trainings. Next, she advocated for a department goal of accountability and growth.
As students returned for in-person instruction in September, campus maintenance and custodial calls increased, putting the Business Operations Customer Care team at the center of the effort to keep students and staff safe.
There are many features that Principal Orlando Reyna finds impressive about the newly constructed Austin High School, but the contemporary courtyard is by far one of his favorites.
“It just looks amazing,” Reyna said, smiling at the thought of it. “I anticipate it’s going to be a popular space for us to utilize and for students to congregate.”
After a semester-long delay due to pandemic-related manpower and delivery issues, Austin High School is finally set to open its doors to students on Wednesday, Jan. 6, following their return from winter break.
These certainly aren’t your grandmothers’ schools.
At least that’s how Dan Bankhead, General Manager for Facilities Design, describes the newly redesigned schools built under the 2012 Bond Program.
A sharp contrast from the original buildings, classrooms are now bright, spacious, and flooded with natural light. Bold colors adorn the floors and walls. Shared spaces are reminiscent of trendy hotel lobbies and cafés.
Bellaire High School took a significant step toward the next phase of construction last month when the city approved a specific use permit allowing for the build of the high school’s new baseball and softball fields at 6300 Avenue B.
Abatement and demolition of the former Gordon Elementary School will begin soon to make way for the new fields.
The athletic fields are part of the 2012 Bond Program, which called for a rebuild of Bellaire’s existing school, which has been in use since 1955. Design plans for the $141.5 million, multi-phased project included the relocation of the baseball and softball fields to a site about two miles away to maximize space on the existing 18-acre campus.