Stephen F. Austin High School was selected as a recipient of the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. The GRAMMY Signature Schools Award is designed to honor public high school music programs across the country with special awards and grants based primarily on need and a compelling plan to address that need.
The GRAMMY Museum awarded a grant of $5,500 to Stephen F. Austin and hosted a virtual question and answer session on Friday with over 60 students in the performing arts department. Industry professional guests on the panel included moderator David R. Sears, GRAMMY Museum vice president of education of GRAMMY In the Schools, Larry Batiste, music director and owner of LaSugar Bear Entertainment and producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/composer/arranger Jason Goldman.
Colorful replicas of maritime flags and bright green balloons adorned the aisles of the Austin High School auditorium to welcome U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz, special guests, and more than 300 Maritime program students.
“The maritime pathway is pretty cool,” senior Diana Anaya said. “It’s more than just boats and going to the beach. We learn about transportation, safety, and supply logistics.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
HISD Bond Oversight Committee members toured the new Wharton Dual Language Academy during their quarterly meeting Tuesday, getting an inside look at the building that opened its doors to students just four months ago.
Wharton Principal Jennifer Day and HISD Construction Services Senior Manager Meredith Smith led the group around the colorful building, making stops in classrooms, science and computer labs, and art and music rooms, as well as the cafeteria, gym, and library.
Three years ago, Austin High School Principal Steve Guerrero and his team attended what they thought would be a typical professional development training with Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation. While attending, they were inspired to apply for a $500,000 grant that would be of great benefit to the campus.
In applying for the grant, the team was able to create a plan to rethink the typical high schoolstudent experience and re-conceptualize how the school used its resources to increase personalization for students.
New construction at Austin High School has made
significant progress in the past couple of months, reaching close to 30 percent
Construction crews have been installing
underground utilities, placing tilt wall panels, and erecting structural steel.
The crew is also preparing the building for interior build out and roofing
installation. Progress will continue according with the construction schedule.
“As the walls have gone up so has the excitement
of the students, parents, and of the East End community,” Austin High School
Principal Steve Guerrero said. “We will continue to collaborate with our
construction partners to ensure a smooth and safe transition to the new campus.”