As construction on Cy-Fair ISD’s 11th high school—Cypress Park—is finalized before its August opening, the district is making significant progress on its 12th high school as well.
Located within the Bridgeland master-planned community off Segment F-1 of the Grand Parkway, the unnamed high school will be a part of the same sort of educational village concept being implemented with Cypress Park, said Roy Sprague, CFISD’s associate superintendent of facilities, construction and support services.
“We were challenged by [former] Superintendent [David] Anthony to transform public education,” Sprague said. “We did a lot of research working with architects and came up with this idea of trying to put all the buildings close together and creating this educational village.”
The 128-acre village will consist of High School No. 12 and Elementary School No. 55, which are both being funded with money from the $807 million bond approved by voters in November 2007. They will be completed in time for the 2017-18 school year.
Plans also call for a future middle school to be constructed on-site, the time frame of which will be determined by population projections, Sprague said.
“Based on the latest projections, it looks like we’ll be adding new facilities in 2019 or 2020,” he said. “It’ll be in the blink of an eye.”
Site plans show the middle and elementary schools will be connected, and the high school will located just to the north. This will create mentorship opportunities between younger and older students. It gives younger students the chance to see where they will be going to school for the next 12 years, Sprague said.
“We were looking for ways to make it easier during that transitional phase,” he said. “There’s also the ability for teachers to make further connections with students throughout their education.”
Similar to the Cypress Park campus, the Grand Parkway campus will include a central commons building with a large kitchen and dining area. While the commons area at the Cypress Park campus will be used by all students, the one at the Grand Parkway campus will be used by middle and elementary school students only, Sprague said.
“The high school is going to have its own kitchen, but the elementary and middle school will have a shared commons area and kitchen,” he said.
The spaces between the buildings will be used as outdoor learning environments that will also connect to walkways to get to and from the campus, Sprague said.
“We’re going to incorporate sustainability elements, such as solar panels on top of canopies and a water cistern to collect rainwater and divert it for irrigation,” he said. “We’ll have a planting area and a sundial so science teachers can teach about sun angles.”
The outdoor learning environments are a part of a larger goal to design the campus as a teaching tool, Sprague said. Additional concepts involve making use of the mechanical and electrical rooms within the high school.
“Instead of closing them off, we’re going to put in glass walls and color-coat the piping and conduits,” Sprague said. “In science classrooms, we’ll put a section of Plexiglas into the wall to show where the piping comes in, and color-coat that to match what’s in the mechanical room to show students how electricity is delivered to the room.”
High School No. 12 is being built as a four-story building and will be the tallest high school in CFISD. Each floor could cater to a specific grade, or floors could be geared toward certain curricula, depending on how the principal and administrative team feels they can best serve the students, Sprague said.
“It’s gives them flexibility in how they set up,” he said.
CFISD is working closely with Bridgeland’s development team to help master plan the site around that area, Sprague said. Houston First Baptist Church has already purchased property just north of the site and is getting ready to start construction on a new church, he said.
“We are working with Bridgeland and the church on a shared-use cost agreement,” Sprague said. “We’re working on an agreement with the church right now where they can use our parking [lot] for Sunday services and we can share parking during our large events. The church will pay a portion of the driveway cost, too, so we’re saving taxpayers some dollars.”
Proposed names of the high school and elementary school are still being reviewed and discussed with the school board. They could be announced anywhere within the next six months to a year, Sprague said.