PLANS FOR EXPANSION

PLANS+FOR+EXPANSION

The expansion of Sam Houston High school has been talked about for many years, but the conversations became a reality when the AISD School Board approved funding for the construction of a ninth grade center and a new cafeteria for $18.5 million.

The new addition will house about 500 students and remove the 18 portable classes in the parking lot.

The project is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2017.

The district plans to use leftover money from the 2009 bond program along with extra money from its general fund to finance the expansion.

“The money they thought was appropriate for Sam Houston High School, what we call the ninth grade center project, was approved on Oct. 22,” Javier Fernandez, facility planning and construction director said. “The funds that were approved was roughly $18.5 million for construction.”

As the year renews we are expected to see a slight rise in enrollment. The first two weeks from the winter break are usually the busiest. Students often  move during the break. Sam Houston has steadily rose in it’s enrollment since Jan. 6.

As of Dec. 1, there were 3,558 students enrolled in Sam Houston High School. The building was initially built to hold 3,225 students.

“It’s very possible that we reach 4,000 in enrollment soon,” PEIMS clerk Alicia Garza said. “This year we were projected to reach close to 3,800 students for enrollment. We barely skated that number, we had a fall enrollment of 3,718.”

The new construction project would create more classroom space in the building.

Currently, there  are 18 classrooms in portable buildings. The classes usually come into the building and sit in the cafeteria or the library when the weather is too cold or hot.

“I really don’t have a problem going outside to deliver papers because I know that someone has to do it, but sometimes it’s really cold,” junior office aide Fernando Alda said. “I feel bad for the kids out there at this time of the year. The trailers need attention like the classrooms do. Like sometimes the air conditioning has problems or the speakers don’t work and they can’t hear important announcements.”

Adding classrooms and new buildings might even increase classroom achievement and participation.

According to National Education Policy Center (NEPC), smaller class sizes can lead to higher levels of student engagement, increased time on task and help teachers to tailor their instruction to students.

“I’m excited for it for the kids.We definitely need more space here at Sam and it will help alleviate a lot of hall traffic for all of the students, not just the ninth grade kids,” freshmen English teacher Courtnie Boden said. “It will also benefit all teachers because the extra space will hopefully mean teachers no longer have to float.”

A $663.1 million bond was approved by Arlington school district voters in 2014.

The bond included the construction of six multipurpose activity centers for each of the district’s six high schools, as well as a district wide career and technical center.

Those projects were also intended to relieve crowding at the six AISD high schools.

Vyveca Wiley

[email protected]

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