The new classrooms under construction at Burges High School are not yet ready, but the construction site already is a learning space for a handful of Chapin High School engineering students.
The Huskies, all students in Chapin’s engineering magnet program, got an in-depth tour of the $48.7-million EPISD Bond 2016 project at Burges in hopes of furthering their interest in careers in construction.
The tour was guided by architects, engineers and other construction professionals with MNK Architects, Banes and Jacobs Construction — the firms charged with modernizing Burges High School.
“Today, the objective is really to inspire the kids that are coming to visit the site,” said Renée Jimenez, president/CEO of MNK Architects. “On the architectural side, we’re going to walk them through our construction documents so they could understand the plans and see how those plans evolve. As we walk through it, we’re going to explain to them how that all comes together and how we coordinate with our consultants.”
Students donned hard hats, safety glasses and bright colored construction vests just like the professionals to tour the already existing new construction – reinforcing a lesson in safety.
The students attending are juniors enrolled in Project Lead the Way Civil Engineering and Architecture program.
“This is an amazing opportunity and really a part of our commitment to putting students in a realistic work environment –not just to sit at the computer the whole time and just imagine what a work environment could be,” said Johanna Sherman, Chapin magnet coordinator. “It also allows them to really focus as well on soft skills, the team-building model so that they can see that a project isn’t a result of just one person. It’s the result of a lot of knowledge, a lot of background – all working together.”
Junior Angelina Vera was among the Chapin students touring the construction, which will be officially complete 2021. She wants to be an interior designer but also architecture.
“I’m happy to get this experience,” Vera said. “I’ll know a little more before I go into college.”
The professions shared their knowledge with the students, teaching them the nuts and bolts of the project as mentors.
“We want these kids to know you can’t do things alone,” Jimenez said. “You need consultants. You need architects. You need clients. You need the students to give their input on projects. We’re ultimately delivering the vision of the people using the buildings.”
The overall program impressed Sherman.
“They pulled out all the stops,” Sherman said. “They did an amazing job to make sure that the kids felt welcome, that they were informed and they were safe.”
The opportunity left a meaningful impression on the students, too.
“I really enjoyed it because it was a good insight into what I want to know for my future career,” Vera said. “The best part of the tour was seeing everything and seeing how it’s coming together based on the plans.”
Story by Reneé de Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy | Video by Angel Dominguez – EPISD