UPDATE: Fort Bend ISD approves schematics for new, ‘net zero’ middle school

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Updated 10:39 a.m., Sept. 24

The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees unanimously approved updated schematics for New Middle School No. 16 on Sept. 23. The school will be designed to have net zero energy consumption.

Corgan, the architecture firm that designed the school, changed the schematics to include instructional pull out spaces on both sides of the hallway after FBISD trustee Kristin Tassin voiced concerns last meeting that these areas were too far from some normal classrooms.

Posted 9:34 a.m., Sept. 19

Fort Bend ISD reviewed schematics for New Middle School No. 16 at the board of trustees meeting Sept. 16. 

The new school—located near Hightower High School, south of Hwy. 6 in Missouri City—will have a net zero design. This means the building will produce as much energy as it consumes, according to Corgan, the architecture firm that designed the school. 

“We are going to achieve net zero by using renewable energy resources and an enhanced building envelope that will reduce the heating and cooling load on this building,” said AJ Sustaita, an education architecture project manager at Corgan. 

The schematics for the school presented Monday include approximately 90,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof and overhangs, said Sustaita. In the presentation, Corgan said the energy produced by the solar panels will be converted on-site and sent to the power company who will give the school credit for the power it produces. These credits will in turn offset the electric bill. 

Other design elements in the schematic are outside teaching areas for each grade level, clerestory windows that allow natural lighting and a front solar panel canopy. 

The design of New Middle School No. 16 stems from the 2018 FBISD bond election. FBISD approved Corgan to prepare schematics and construction documents for the school in December. The board also approved a project budget of more than $10 million. 

“Our goal throughout this whole process…has always been to provide a campus that will inspire and empower your staff, your students and community members,” Sustaita said. 

The schematic details locations for the 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade wings, as well as administrative spaces, gymnasiums, fine arts classrooms and the cafeteria. FBISD trustee Kristin Tassin raised concerns that the planned instructional pull out spaces were too far away from classrooms and other trustees questioned if there are adequate conference rooms throughout the school. 

FBISD trustee Dave Rosenthal requested a presentation on the cost of design and construction for the school, and its expected financial return. 

“It’s a great looking building,” said FBISD trustee Jim Rice. 

The FBISD board of trustees will meet next on Sept. 23.

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Claire Allbright
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 with bachelor's degrees in journalism and government and a minor in Arabic. Previously, Claire was a fellow at The Texas Tribune and the news editor of The Daily Texan. In her free time, Claire enjoys playing cards and jamming out to the boss, Bruce Springsteen.
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