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Houston Independent School District
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Monday, August 06, 2007

HISD will open 8 new schools in one day  
Three weeks from today, record number of new schools open 
In three weeks, HISD will attempt to do something it has never done before: open eight brand-new schools in one day. 

Thanks to the good work of project managers and construction workers who are building and repairing schools as part of the $808 million HISD bond program, all eight new elementary schools are set to open on time on the first day of fall classes, August 27. 

HISD estimates that about 6,660 students will walk into new schools that day. 

Massive rainfall this summer has slowed some work on the outside of schools, and it may still be a bit muddy on the outside on August 27 when students return. But construction officials say the schools will be ready for classes.

Senior Project Executive Dick Lindsay said, “We’ve had a very successful bond program which has culminated in the largest group of new schools we’ve ever opened at once.  Everyone has worked very hard to make this happen and we think the kids are going to thrive in their beautiful new surroundings.”

In 2002, Houston voters overwhelmingly approved an $808.6 million bond issue to “Rebuild HISD.” By the end of 2007, construction will be complete on eight school expansions, 25 campus renovations, and 30 new schools. Rebuild HISD has also provided funds to build four new Pre-K centers, upgrade playgrounds, and air condition all school gymnasiums. All elementary schools have been outfitted with a fully functioning science lab.

New schools opening on Aug. 27 and their current program budgets:

  • Briargrove Elementary: $16.9 million
  • Thomas J. Pilgrim Academy: $14.6 million
  • Walnut Bend Elementary: $13.2 million
  • Longfellow Elementary: $15.2 million
  • Bruce Elementary: $15 million
  • Lantrip Elementary: $13.1 million
  • Mamie Sue Bastian Elementary: $15.5 million
  • Thompson Elementary: $13.5 million 

Briargrove Elementary, at 6145 San Felipe, is a 93,500-square-foot facility for approximately 1,000 students located at the site of the demolished old Briargrove. The new school is two stories high in order to reduce the size of the overall building footprint. An important point of the new design is the location of the library at the front door, signifying the academic purpose of the building.

Pilgrim Academy, in the West Region at 6302 Skyline Drive, sits on approximately 7.8 acres of land at the intersection of West Greenridge and Skyline Drive and reflects the traditional historical Hispanic architecture of South Texas, incorporating a central courtyard near the entrance to the building and arches both inside and outside the building.  The school originally was designed to house Pre-K through 5th grade in 38 classrooms.  Subsequently, the school core areas were redesigned and built to accommodate future students for grades 6, 7 and 8.  The classrooms are divided into three separate “modules,” with each module shared by two grade levels.  This distribution of classrooms will easily accommodate a changing population of age groups from one year to the next.

Longfellow Elementary, at 8617 Norris, has been built on the site of the old Longfellow Elementary, and will house 750 students in a new 86,000-square-foot facility.  Site amenities include a covered play area and provisions for a future amphitheater. The new school is a two-story building and was designed to be welcoming to the community, with the library located at the front door of the school.

Walnut Bend Elementary, at 10620 Briar Forest, is an 85,000-square-foot facility for 750 students located on the existing five-acre school site, replacing the old Walnut Bend, which was built in 1960.  Walnut Bend is expected to be one of two “green” schools, HISD’s first to seek LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). A LEED Certified building is one that meets the criteria of the U.S. Green Building Council for building performance and sustainability. An important design consideration for this project was the method of student arrival and dismissal from the building.  The school is located on a major thoroughfare and the great majority of students are transported by car or bus.  The new school design includes a site drive that will allow the stacking of many cars on school property, and not on the major thoroughfare or the surrounding neighborhood streets.  Site amenities include a courtyard for a student waiting area before school opens.

Bruce Elementary, at 510 Jensen Dr., replaces the old Bruce Elementary located just blocks away.   This project consists of a new school on a new site assembled from multiple smaller land tracts.  Because the new 750-student school hosts a music magnet program, along with regular classrooms the school will have music rooms, an instrument cleaning area, and band rooms.

Lantrip Elementary, at 100 Telephone Rd., is an 80,000-square-foot building that will include elements salvaged from the original buildings in the cafeteria and library.  Additionally, three historic buildings of the original school will be retained as part of the new complex.  Those buildings, from 1915, will be refurbished with new finishes, electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, as well as building code and accessibility improvements.

Bastian Elementary, at 5051 Bellfort Ave., is a 1,000-student school on a new site which will combine students from both the existing Bastian and Fairchild Elementary schools. The building design features a centralized cafeteria/administrative/library block which is linked via a central curved corridor to three classroom pods averaging 13 classrooms each.  In addition to the classrooms, each classroom pod contains two joint activities rooms, a teacher preparation room, and storage rooms, among other things.  The pods feature a science lab and resource room.

Thompson Elementary, at 6121 Tierwester, is a new replacement school for 750 students located one block from the existing Thompson Elementary.  The new Thompson also is expected to be a “green” school. The building design features six classroom pods serving Pre-K through fifth grade with science, music, and art rooms linked via a central corridor with clerestory lighting that intersects in a central rotunda.

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