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.”
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.”
Northside High School students steadily filed into the commons on Monday and lined up behind a bank of white tables, eager to pick up schedules, find friends, and get a first glimpse of the new campus.
Standing just behind the tables was Assistant Principal Victor Okoli, armed with a floor plan and ready to help students navigate the new facility.
Principal Cecilia Gonzales stood just a few feet away, watching over the process, welcoming students back to school, and guiding them through new, brightly colored hallways.
Gathered outside Lamar High School’s new main entrance, cheerleaders, Rangerettes, and the color guard shook their pompoms to the beat of the music played by the band, welcoming students back to school.
Inside, the hum of conversation filled the grand hall as hundreds of students peered around the two-story room, admiring the tall glass walls and massive, blue staircase, as they waited for the first bell to ring.
“The kids walked in wide-eyed saying, ‘It’s beautiful,’” Lamar Principal Rita Graves said, recalling how eager students had been to see the school during last week’s Texan Prep Days. “They’re just really excited to be learning in such a cool place.”
Nearly three feet of water rippled through freshly painted hallways, carrying brightly colored classroom decorations that fell from wet walls. Bookshelves collapsed and spilled its contents, and desks were scattered about by the force of the water.
It’s been two years since that scenario played out at four HISD elementary schools — Braeburn, Mitchell, Scarborough, and Kolter.
Just as faculty and staff at each school had prepared for their newest group of students, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast. The storm inflicted damage so significant that students and staff had to be relocated to temporary campuses.
Construction on the new Mitchell Elementary School is
progressing as the concrete foundation and hollow core planks are now complete.
Crews have begun the erection of the structural steel and site paving is nearly complete.
The campus is one of four elementary schools — Braeburn,
Mitchell, Scarborough, and Kolter — being rebuilt as a result of damages
sustained in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey.
“Although Harvey tested our resiliency, it also created an
opportunity for our community to be blessed with a new school for our very
deserving students,” Mitchell Principal Elizabeth Castillo said. “We are
so eager as we watch the progress of our building. With the foundation
being poured, we know that our Mitchell 3.0 will be a beacon of hope as we work
to revitalize our community after Harvey.”