DALLAS — Houston Independent School District will press ahead with a $1.9 billion bond program as it completes construction of the final projects from its current $508 million general obligation bond program.
The district reported to a bond oversight committee that completion of the 2007 capital program will overlap with the initial phases of the $1.9 billion GO bond package approved by Houston voters in November 2012.
Facilities designer manager Dan Bankhead said the Houston district is on schedule to complete all work in the 2007 bond program by the end of 2014. The program included more than 180 projects, including 23 new schools.
Three of the remaining new schools are currently under construction, with two ready for the approaching fall semester and the other set to open by the end of 2013.
Design firms have been selected for the first 24 schools in the 2012 program, Bankhead said at the July 30 session, with architectural firms pledged to meet strict environmental standards.
The district is committed to building schools with innovative learning environments, said Sue Robertson, general manager of facilities planning.
Schools funded with 2007 and 2012 bond proceeds will feature flexible spaces that encourage collaboration and hands-on learning, she told the nine-member oversight panel.
"We've moved away from the term 'classroom,'" said Robertson. "We fully intend to push the envelope much further than it's been pushed."
Each campus in the bond program has a local project advisory team of students, staff and community members to help guide the planning and design process, Robertson said.
Houston Independent School District's $2.5 billion of outstanding GO debt is rated triple-A by Moody's Investors Service and AA-plus by Standard & Poor's. The debt is enhanced to triple-A with coverage by the Texas Permanent School Fund.