Construction planning and phasing

  • How did HISD determine which schools were chosen for construction?
    HISD hired Parsons, an independent engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm, in March 2012 to update the comprehensive facilities assessment that was conducted in 2007. Because recent building programs have focused on building new elementary schools, Parsons was instructed to pay particular attention to the unaddressed needs on the high school level. The engineers rated the schools based on their physical condition and educational suitability, and the facilities with the greatest needs were given highest priority.
    Was every HISD school personally inspected during the 2012 facilities assessment?
    No. Just five years ago, HISD hired another firm, Magellan, to send facility assessment crews to each and every school in the district. This assessment cost HISD $4 million. Much of the work conducted then remains valid because many of the facility problems identified at that time still have not been addressed. In 2012, HISD instructed Parsons to update the comprehensive analysis conducted by Magellan, taking into account all facility work undertaken since 2007. This is the long-standing process that HISD uses for evaluating facilities. Before the 1998 bond, HISD conducted a comprehensive assessment of all schools. This assessment was updated in preparation for the 2002 bond package. In 2007, HISD paid for a comprehensive facilities assessment, which was updated in 2012.
    How were schools selected to be among the first group for construction or renovation?
    A multitude of factors were considered. Examples include: balance of projects throughout the district, site logistics, cash flow within the schedule of bond sales, and the availability of swing space (a place where a school relocates during a construction project) for students affected by construction. All areas of the district will see construction from the very start of the bond program.
    Where is my school on the schedule?
    • Group 1: Planning and Design - Early / Mid 2013
    • Group 2: Planning and Design - Early / Mid 2014
    • Group 3: Planning and Design – Early / Mid 2015
    • Group 4: Planning and Design - Late 2015 / Early 2016
    How long does it take to design and build a school?
    Typically, the design and engineering of a new school takes 12 to 24 months, with high schools taking more time than elementary and middle schools. Construction time is typically 18 to 24 months, depending on the complexity of the project.
    For projects where work is occurring on an occupied school site, how will students and staff be kept safe?
    In all cases, the district will ensure that student safety and security is maintained and that the academic programs aren't compromised, with particular attention to testing schedules. There will be physical barriers between students, staff, and any areas where construction is occurring, both indoors and on the site. Construction workers are not to have any contact with students, but they will also be required to pass background checks.
    Some schools on the list for the 2012 bond had significant work done as part of the 2007 bond program. Why do those schools need to be replaced or renovated?
    While the 2007 bond program addressed many issues, some campuses still have outstanding needs that were not fully addressed in that program. The 2012 program seeks to address many of those outstanding needs and provide flexible learning environments for students and teachers. Areas renovated or added as part of the 2007 program will be worked around and/or integrated into the design for the new proposed work. For example, if a school received a new wing, that wing will remain and be incorporated into the new design. Some of the campus renovation projects covered by the 2007 bond program, such as plumbing and heating/cooling system improvements, were necessary to keep those buildings usable until long-term facility solutions are implemented.
    How will needs at schools not on the bond project list be addressed?
    The district-wide middle school restroom improvements and the district-wide technology improvements will address some of the outstanding deficiencies existing at campuses not otherwise included in the bond program. The recently completed third-party facilities assessment also brought many maintenance needs to light that will be addressed through HISD's regular maintenance program instead of the bond program. Other needs identified in the assessment will be addressed through a long range capital improvement plan. HISD recognizes that there are many needs across the district. It is simply not practical to attempt to address all facility needs in one bond program.