A $141.5 million construction project to build a new facility for Bellaire High School is 80% through its construction.
The school is being built on the same lot as the former campus and will utilize an existing science wing, officials said. Various elements of the project's first phase were completed in early 2021 and will be open to students during the 2021-22 school year, which will begin Aug. 23.
A new academic wing features multiple flexible learning areas; a fine arts wing includes a 900-seat auditorium and black box theater; and a physical education wing features two gyms, an eight-lane natatorium and a diving well.
"Those are areas that every kid has to interact with at some point in high school," Bellaire High School Principal Michael McDonough said. "Every kid has to take a year of fine arts, so every kid's going to touch those areas, and every kid has to take a year of (physical education), so the kids are going to touch those areas."
Construction on the second and final phase of the project will not be finished until August 2022. By the time the new school year starts, key elements of the project left to tackle will include a front entrance, a one-story administration wing, a five-level parking garage, a new courtyard and a turf football field that McDonough said will also be used for soccer and track.
The new nearly 400,000-square-foot high school incorporates several key design elements requested in the 2012 bond referendum, including shared space collaboration, more efficient use of space and more natural light, McDonough said.
"I think people will be very pleased with the final product," McDonough said. "We're a strong school, and I think that this is going to make us even stronger."