School renovations to be completed by end of summer


Photo by: Henry Hays

Construction workers remove debris and lay tile in the hallway that connects the 1300 and 1400 hallways. Construction around the school is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

Administration and counseling teams are expected to be able to move back into their offices on July 26 after water damage caused forced relocation to the front office after spring break. 

“The relocation of the office [and] major pieces of the hallway definitely have made the job difficult right now,” assistant principal Rachel Flanders said. “This is also [the] testing time period where the school goes into AP [and] STAAR testing. At first, we relocated to some of these open spaces, and then we realized we definitely need more spots for students and teachers for testing days, so it’s an added obstacle for sure.”

When administrators were first relocated, construction had already begun for a refresh to upgrade the school, which happens every 20 years per LISD protocol. The refresh includes redoing floors and ceilings and making sure paint and tiles in the hallways match school colors. 

“I’m really excited about the change in the main hallway,” Flanders said. “You can see some of the hallways up and downstairs [where] the floor is different [and] instead of the rounded ceiling it’s more level. When we get to the main hallway by the cafeteria, not having those lamps and not seeing that green that’s everywhere will be exciting.”

After spring break most of the front office administrators were relocated to the library, which was almost finished with its own construction. The library was to receive changes to the ceilings, floor, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system) and lighting. The librarians have relocated to a temporary library in room 2440 for the remainder of the school year. 

“Renovation for the library was [about] 90% finished, and then all the water damage they got in the front office was going to add more time to their renovation,” librarian Kristi Taylor said. “They decided to move [administration] into the library because it’s a big enough space and then start working on [the office] now. They said we’d be in the library after spring break, and that’s when they were finished, but then the water [damage occurred] over [the] ‘snowpocalypse.’”

Bookcases remain wrapped following renovations in the library. The front office has currently been relocated to the library following water damage. (Photo by: Henry Hays)

The counseling team was relocated to the Bright lab in the 1200 hallway. Counselor Justin Fields said there are two groups of counselors who work remotely every other day, since the computer lab they were relocated in can get crowded.

“The room gets very loud and impersonal very quickly, particularly when we’re trying to meet with students or have meetings virtually,” Fields said. “We have six counselors, a student-assist counselor and Mrs. [Marion] Gonzalez our secretary, so that’s potentially eight people.”

The counseling team is going to return to work for the 2021-22 school year on July 12. They are planning to work out of the ninth-grade campus on a similar every-other-day system until July 26, when they should be able to move back into their offices. 

“In some ways, it’s affected things just because sometimes students meet with us about something and their in-person access to their counselor is limited,” Fields said. “All the counselors are ready to help any student with anything, sometimes there’s a personal connection, and [counselors] are not readily accessible in some ways. We are using a variety of rooms around the building to have private meetings with students if we need to to ensure confidentiality.”

At this time, the library and most of the classrooms are completely renovated. Renovations will continue over the summer, where the focus will be on face-lifts to the gym, the cafeteria and parts of the fine arts hallway.

“It’s exciting to have new [renovations], and hopefully we’ll make progress with our COVID situation,” Fields said. “I’m trying to maintain a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for next year. I try [to] look at it as a lot of new [things are] coming and that’s very exciting.”