Madison High School celebrates groundbreaking ceremony

Madison High School rolled out the red carpet on Thursday for hundreds of community members who gathered on the campus to celebrate the start of construction on their new school.

Standing in front of the construction site, Houston Independent School District Board of Education President Wanda Adams kicked off the festivities by expressing her excitement about the work taking place right behind her. 

“This school will build better lives for our children,” Adams said. “Our children deserve an environment like this.”

Madison is among 40 schools, including 29 high schools, across the district that are being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. The $94 million project calls for a two-story school that will span 265,000 square feet and accommodate up to 2,100 students.

The school will be built facing West Orem Drive and will feature a two-story foyer that will double as a dining commons and large gathering space, while also providing plenty of natural light.

The school entrance will be flanked by three, two-story academic wings to the east and performing arts and community spaces to the west. A new gym and athletics area, and competition swimming pool will be located to the northeast.

Madison HS Principal Orlando Reyna smiled as he addressed the large crowd of community members gathered before him, reminding them of the important role they play in the success of Madison High School.

“Your support is crucial,” Reyna said. “The construction of this new building marks a new era for our students.”

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza thanked Houston voters for making the 2012 Bond possible, but also emphasized the importance of what the new building will symbolize for the community.

“I am so thrilled to be here today,” Carranza said. “To see the groundbreaking today of this new building is a testament to this community by the community that you will not go underserved anymore.”

Also joining in the celebration were U.S. Congressman Al Greene, State Rep. Alma Allen, Houston City Councilman Larry Green, and former NFL player and Madison alumnus Moran Norris.

Also on display during the event was a time capsule, which will be packed with items from various school departments and buried near the front entrance of the new school. The time capsule is expected to be unearthed in 50 years.

Although some students will not have the opportunity to attend class in the new building, one Madison senior had a message for the incoming students of the new school.

“Stay focused and listen to your teachers,” Demontre Palmer said. “You may not realize what they’re trying to do for you now, but you’ll realize it later.”

Bond construction is underway at more than two dozen campuses in HISD — 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.