Students of Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men are in for a great start to the year as the long awaited opening of their new school edges closer.
The $42 million project is about 80 percent complete with move-in expected to begin towards the end of July. Finishing touches are being done to both the painting and drywall, while framing in the new building has almost concluded. Site improvements, such as the development of the outdoor track area, are already underway and should be finished by September.
“The kids are really excited to come back,” said Leland Principal Dameion Crook, who smiled when asked if his staff shared that emotion. “The teachers are pumped about it.”
The magnet school, which is being rebuilt as part of the voter-approved 2012 Bond, will serve 900 to 1,000 male students in sixth through twelfth grades. Features include separate exterior courtyard areas for both middle and high school students, new athletic facilities, and areas for robotics and JROTC.
The music department also will receive an upgrade. Jazz musician and Wheatley High School graduate Joe Sample assisted in the design of the music room area, which also will include a recording studio for both the school’s choir and jazz band.
The new facility also will feature a community meeting room that will be available for public use. It will be adorned with memorabilia honoring the former Wheatley and E.O Smith schools, as well as the historic Fifth Ward, where the school is located.
Leland is among 40 schools, including 29 high schools, being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Construction is underway at roughly three dozen campuses, which is more activity than any other time in district history. Almost 50 percent of bond projects will be complete and open to students by the end of this summer. Once all work is complete, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.