When Northside High School alumnus Machell Blackwell walked through the doorway on the third floor of her alma matter, she said she felt like she was walking through time.
On one side of the well-worn building, it seemed dark and confined — even a bit dated. But on the other, hallways were lighter, classrooms were brighter, and there was a colorful, collaborative space where students could gather to work in small groups.
“To me, I feel like I was walking through a time machine,” said a smiling Blackwell, who also serves as a Northside PTO recruiter and member of both the Northside Project Advisory Team and Shared Decision-Making Committee. “I just walked into the 21st century.”
Construction is underway at Northside High School, where crews already have begun to demolish the old front entrance and gut and renovate the second floor library space.
By the end of the summer, work on the library — a portion of which will be transformed into new classrooms — as well as work on restrooms, common areas, and utilities throughout the building, will be complete, and new temporary buildings will be fully installed.
Northside High School welcomed parents, students, teachers, and neighbors to its third community meeting on Wednesday to discuss the plan and timeline for construction and renovation work underway on its campus.
During the meeting, Northside Principal Julissa Alcantar-Martinez unveiled a new traffic plan developed to keep students and staff safe throughout construction. The plan calls for the rear parking lot to be closed, with both parking and the main school entrance relocated to the west side of the campus.
“We’ve been meeting for the last four years, every week, every month, talking about the construction and what was coming,” Alcantar-Martinez said. “We’re happy to say we’re getting started.”
Five HISD schools won prizes in Saturday’s 29th annual Art Car Parade in downtown Houston, with district-created student art cars snagging two of the four “first-place” winning categories in overall competition.
The Reagan High School Art Car Club, led by teacher Rebecca Bass, won first place with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the Lovett Elementary Visual Arts Program, with teacher Rickey Polidore Jr., won first place with “‘OWL’ways in the ARTISTIC FRAME of Mind.” Both schools received a grand trophy and $1,500.
Work on the bond project to rebuild Davis High School is slated to begin this summer when construction gets underway on a parking lot off Tackaberry Street.
That new lot is part of an expansion plan for the Near Northside campus, and the first step in a three-phase project that will bring two additions and renovations to create a newly modernized school for 1,500 to 1,700 students.
“We’re basically working from the left of the campus to the right,” Architect Mark French of the IBI Group, told more than 40 people who turned out Thursday for a meeting to get the latest updates on the historic school.
Davis Principal Julissa Alcantar-Martinez opened the meeting by thanking the school community, especially the Project Advisory Team, for working together to move the project forward and to advocate for the best facility possible for students.
“They have stuck with this for three years even when it hasn’t been easy,” she said, noting that the school received $19 million in additional funding in December because of that support.
A dozen students from HISD’s Davis HS will be making history this weekend — both as participants in the University Interscholastic League’s very first State Mariachi Festival and as the only school from HISD to be representing the district.
Davis is one of almost 60 schools playing in the inaugural competition, which takes place March 11 and 12 in San Antonio.
“I am pleased to see that mariachi is being recognized at the UIL state level,” said teacher José Niño. “It combines orchestra, band, and choir all in one.”
Two groundbreaking ceremonies, five community meetings and quarterly Bond Oversight Committee meeting scheduled through April
With construction making noticeable progress across HISD, many projects are reaching their next milestone – including including groundbreaking ceremonies at Parker Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School, and a host of community meetings scheduled for the spring.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday is expected to consider a resolution that would begin the process of renaming schools in order to represent the values and diversity of the school district, in accordance with the district’s non-discrimination policies.
The resolution was brought forward by Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones. It would affect eight schools: Henry Grady, Richard Dowling, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Sidney Lanier middle schools, and Jefferson Davis, John Reagan, and Lee high schools. Continue reading →
The Davis High School project took a major step forward when the Board of Education approved additional funding that will allow construction of the school to proceed as originally described to voters in 2012.
The work will be a combination of renovation to the historical building and the addition of new construction for the school’s culinary and fine arts programs.
The project will be moving into design development during 2016, which will further refine how the building will take shape. A second community meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25. The goal is have the project ready for bid during the third quarter 2016.