Monday, August 24, 2015

Demolition of SBEC Underway; Schools Moved Temporarily to East Transition Campus

The excavator has taken a bite out of the Spring Branch Education Center’s long horizontal wing, the one that fronts Westview and has been the façade for SBEC – and Spring Branch High School before it for more than 50 years.

Still standing when’s the claw’s work is done will be the auditorium and library from Spring Branch High School, part of the original façade that was removed from public view when the two-story classroom wing fronting it was opened in 1958.

And when the dust settles on construction in late 2016, that auditorium and library will be the historical pieces that tie SBHS to reconstructed wings for Cornerstone Academy and Academy of Choice – two of Spring Branch ISD’s schools of choice – and a two-story cafeteria and community room on the property’s west side that will form a courtyard between the two wings.

The district is working closely with the Spring Branch Senior High School Association, keeping the alumni group apprised of details and plans for the renovations.

Demolition and site preparation work started earlier this summer but on the wings and buildings behind the long, brown-brick façade on Westview that most identify with SBEC and SBHS.

That building coming down marks the end of one era and the genesis of another. The new facilities will be tied to the past through the auditorium and library, which will house the Spring Branch Senior High School Museum, a collection of artifacts from the district’s, community’s and high school’s past.

Saved will be the mosaic bear from the main entrance, and the large stuffed Kodiak bear behind glass near the auditorium. The mural painted by Altharetta Yeargin above the entrances to the auditorium will be preserved as well.

Former superintendent Duncan Klussmann recognized the importance – historically and culturally – of the SBEC facilities and when it came time for work to proceed as part of the 2007 bond program, administrators and trustees were able to find more money to renovate the facility.

Original work called for replacement of HVAC systems and other improvements that are necessary but aren’t visible. By adding some $12 million to the already committed $16 million, the district is able to rebuild wings for two of its choice schools while preserving a piece of its history.

While modern in materials and appearance, the new wings and the cafeteria will include visual cues that link it to the mid-century style prevalent when the Spring Branch Senior High School building opened in 1952. The high school itself was opened in 1949.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 30, postponed until that date after Tropical Storm Bill crashed the original date of June 16. There, several speakers spoke fondly – and passionately – about the historical and social significance of Spring Branch High School. Alumni and community also had a last chance inside the building at the alumni association’s annual all-class reunion the weekend of May 2.


Academy of Choice
8655 Emnora
Houston, Texas 77080
(East Transition Campus)

Cornerstone Academy
8655 Emnora
Houston, Texas 77080
(East Transition Campus)

Community Education
2100 Shadowdale
Houston, Texas 77043
(West Support Center)

Special Education
2100 Shadowdale
Houston, Texas 77043
(West Support Center)


SBEC Child Care Facility
12754 Kimberly
Houston, Texas 77024
(Wildcat Way)


District Alternative Education Program (DAEP)
SBISD Tax Office
Bear Boulevard
Vines Science Center
SBISD Police Department
Grob Stadium


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