By Lisa Kopochinski
HOUSTON—Several school projects in the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District’s (CISD) $335 million bond program are progressing rapidly, even amidst the current coronavirus pandemic.
Considered one of the fastest-growing districts in Texas, Goose Creek CISD is driven by massive growth in southeast Houston, with a projection of more than 2,250 new students over the next decade.
To accommodate this rapid growth, voters approved the passing of a new bond measure in June 2019, which provides funds for several projects, including new construction, aging school repairs, athletic improvements, safety and security improvements, and technology upgrades.
“The district has been working hard to deliver exceptional facilities that will prepare students for their future,” said JP Grom, vice president of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN), which is serving as the program manager.
“COVID 19 hasn’t stopped the district’s efforts. In fact, the district has accelerated some of the projects in this bond program.”
Goose Creek CISD superintendent Randal O’Brien concurred and said in a statement. “In the face of so many challenges from COVID-19, I’m thrilled to see our bond construction programs moving forward without delay. We look forward to the opening of our new projects.”
Edward Franklin “E.F.” Green Junior School is one of the biggest projects that broke ground last month. Named after the first African American educator to serve as a district-level administrator in Goose Creek, the $49.6 million facility is the district’s sixth junior school.
When completed next summer, the 192,000-square-foot school will house 1,100 students and include a 700-seat auditorium, dual competition gyms, media center, multiple computer labs per grade level, band hall, choir and theater programs. Pfluger Architects served as the project’s designer and the contractor is Pogue Construction.
The district’s existing San Jacinto Elementary School will soon be replaced with a new elementary school located just a few blocks away from its current location. With a completion date slated for December 2021, this new school will accommodate 800 students. Spanning 102,000 square feet, it will include a media center, gym, multiple computer labs per grade level, and an outdoor learning center. Designed by PBK Architects, the $22.5 million elementary school will be constructed by Marshall Construction.
The district is also adding a new Elementary School No. 17 to its current facility inventory. This elementary school— in a new master planned subdivision—will serve the rapidly growing north side of the district. The 102,000-square-foot facility will house 800 students and includes a media center, gym, multiple computer labs per grade level and an outdoor learning center. Originally scheduled for construction in fall 2021, the $22.5 million project has been moved up an entire year. PBK Architects is the designer.
The district is also expanding its Stuart Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school from 400 to 900 students. The CTE facility—originally an elementary school—has since been renovated for different uses, ranging from an administrative building to a special education facility. The latest renovations include the addition of a transportation academy, new welding lab, vet clinic, floral shop, IT academy and audio/video academy.
The $12.5 million project will renovate more than 60,000 square-foot of existing space and add a new 54,000-square-foot academic and administrative wing. The first two phases of the CTE facility were completed as part of the 2013 bond program. Phase 3 of the project, which is currently underway, will be completed in August 2020 while phase 4 will be completed next summer. Pfluger Architects is serving as the designer.
The renovation of the Robert E. Lee High School Auditorium is also underway. With a completion date set for January 2021, this historic 1,700-seat auditorium once served as the lone theater for the entire Baytown community in the 1950s and 1960s and was considered the premier theater in the greater Houston area. The $4.2 million renovation project will restore the auditorium to its original design aesthetic and include the latest theatrical improvements. The auditorium will be fitted with new lighting and audio systems, a new green room, new dressing rooms, new theater seating, new restroom layouts and a ticket booth/concession area. Huckabee is the project’s architect and it will be renovated by Comex Corp. Contractors.