Groundbreaking at HISD High School for Law and Justice

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for the new Houston Independent School District (HISD) High School for Law and Justice. This facility will replace the converted George Washington School located several miles away that opened in 1981. Page designed the new three-story structure in association with DLR Group and construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

The High School for Law and Justice is a magnet school that provides dedicated academic support to students interested in pursuing careers in law and law enforcement. The new facility will feature student-centered design with multiple spaces for collaboration such as research and breakout areas. Students will benefit from the courtroom, law library, and more than 15 learning centers for teaching crime scene investigations, fire technology, legal studies and emergency communications. Alumna Juliet Stipeche, who is currently the City of Houston Education Director, spoke of her professional success grounded in the education she received there.

The 115,502-square-foot building is primarily composed of two distinct learning centers balance the school around “Justice” and “Law” with shared core classes that relate to the chosen focuses. A green parking area will create a “Front Yard” as well as a buffer from street noise.

A courtroom is the heart of the school, front and center at the entry and in the Central Hall. Visible to the street, it sits on the ground floor of a tall element centered in glass, which also houses the library above. This glass element serves as an architectural fulcrum between the two areas, or "neighborhoods" of academic focus: Law and Justice. 

Each neighborhood houses classrooms, labs and learning commons as well as support spaces. Transparent walls will allow visibility into learning spaces such as a crime scene lab and a 911 training call center. Connections with the outdoors are planned through classrooms with natural light as well as outdoor dining and learning areas.

The building also will include designated areas for the ROTC and visual arts programs as well as a soccer field and a black box theater that can also open into the assembly space for large events. Administrative offices and dining/food services are situated on the ground floor.  

The campus is located on a major street across from a light rail stop that has direct connections to the University of Houston as well as to the downtown courthouse facilities. It also is in close proximity to the Houston Police Department’s South Central station, which can serve as a resource to students in the magnet school’s criminal justice program.

B3Ci, a joint venture between Balfour Beatty Construction and 3Ci, is the general contractor.

The High School for Law and Justice is the latest Pre-K – 12 academic project on which Page has worked for HISD. To watch Page project manager Wendy Heger share her thoughts in a video of the groundbreaking with renderings at 0:45, click here

To see more images and details on the HISD website, click here