HISD Celebrates New Facility for Energy Institute High School

Houston, Texas - On November 19th, VLK Architects attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Houston ISD's Energy Institute High School. HISD district officials, administrators, and students were in attendance to celebrate the beginning of construction on this new concept high school set to open in the second quarter of 2018. The new $37 million facility will be modeled after a high-tech, corporate environment to match the unique mission and structure of Energy Institute High School.

Energy Institute High School opened in 2013 and is the first magnet school in the U.S. to offer a school-wide energy theme. The school emphasizes project-based learning, an educational concept that helps students to hone their critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills by having them work on projects with peers rather than alone. The new Energy Institute will be 110,000 square feet and will accommodate 800 students. A central courtyard with cascading stairs and trellis visible from the front entry will be surrounded by three main, multi-level buildings with flexible spaces where students can work on projects together.

Timothy Chung, a senior at Energy Institute High School, spoke about the growth and transformation that he has seen in his four years at Energy Institute High School.

'As part of Energy's first graduating class, and as a student who has been with Energy from the start, I can proudly say that we have come a long way,' said Chung. 'As a senior, I know we did more than just build a school. We built a vision and a culture for the Energy Institute High School to be proud of. Our legacy will be left through our incredible robotics teams, award-winning STEM clubs, our inspired student body, and the relationships we have built with teachers and friends.'

'What I hope you notice today is that this event highlights our Energy Superheros, student leaders, our global graduates, our Energy students,' said Energy Institute High School Principal, Lori Lambropoulos. 'Our goal is to graduate a different kind of kid in a very different type of building. This has not happened by accident. Most importantly, it has not happened alone. The people who have shared in our labor of love, and have shed blood, sweat, and tears in this adventure are too numerous to mention. Collectively speaking to the Houston community, this day would not have arrived without the support of the Houston Independent School District, our HISD Board of Trustees, our administrative support staff, the HISD Foundation, staff, students, and parents of Energy.'

The new Energy Institute will be located on Southmore Boulevard, nestled in the heart of Houston's Third Ward, just west of downtown Houston. The new facility is expected to become a vital part of the surrounding community.

Other highlights from the ceremony included student-engineered robots tasked with formally breaking ground at the site and a metal beam that was available for everyone to sign. The beam will help create the frame of the building and will remain an important part of the school structure, just as the people who signed it are important to the success of Energy Institute High School.

'We are very excited for this new concept facility,' said Tim Kunz with VLK Architects. 'It will include a majority of science and technology labs since this building's layout is based on the students' Project Based Learning education.'