Natural light and a central “Main Street” hallway are the hallmarks of the new Bellaire High School, which is now 57 percent complete.
Part of the 2012 Bond Program, the project is on track to be completed in time for the 2021-2022 school year. The completion of Bellaire will close out the massive bond program, which included the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools, including 29 high schools, across the district.
For Principal Rita Graves, it is impossible for her to pick a favorite part of the construction project at Lamar High School.
The $122 million project, part of the 2012 Bond Program, brings several improvements to the campus, including a new, state-of-the-art academic wing, renovations to its historic original building, and enhancements to the athletic fields.
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.
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.
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
Austin will remain at its current temporary learning center
located across South Lockwood Drive until the new facility opens.
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.
Construction at the new Scarborough Elementary School is
steadily progressing, despite the district being closed due to the COVID-19
Work on the campus has continued, as allowable under the public
health guidelines, with a reduction of the workforce to adhere to social
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.
With most of the country shut down in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve, HISD’s Construction Services — designated an essential service — is continuing to work on school construction across the district.
HISD Construction General Manager Andreas Peeples said
construction is expected to continue as allowable under public health
guidelines but noted that required public health measures are affecting normal
“We must comply with requirements that individuals must remain
at least six feet from any other person,” Peeples said. “This is important, but
it does result in inefficiencies in mobilizing labor and materials and a
general reduction in labor forces.”