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.”
Upbeat music blared through the speakers of the Northside High School dance studio as the Dancing Pantherettes showcased their new studio space for Bond Oversight Committee members.
Led by Northside Principal Cecilia Gonzales, Associate Principal Victor Okoli, and Construction Services Senior Manager Sizwe Lewis, the tour of the new Northside also featured the new fine arts wing, black box theater, TV production room, and culinary kitchen.
After the tour, Northside culinary arts students served a buffet-style, made-from-scratch breakfast — including biscuits, scones, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit — to showcase their magnet for culinary arts, hotel management, and media.
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.