Houston ISD High School for Law and Justice
In November 2013, Houston Independent School District announced plans to relocate its magnet high school specializing in law enforcement to a new location several miles away just outside downtown Houston. It is sited on a major street across from a stop for a light rail line with direct connections to the University of Houston and downtown courthouse facilities. All these now serve as resources to students in the magnet school’s criminal justice program.
The 115,502-square-foot building is primarily composed of two distinct learning centers that balance the school around “Justice” and “Law”. A courtroom is the heart of the school, front and center at the entry and in the Main Commons. Visible to the street, it sits on the ground floor of a tall element centered in glass, which also houses the law library above. This glass element serves as an architectural fulcrum between Justice and Law.
Each academic "neighborhood" houses classrooms, labs and learning commons as well as support spaces. Transparent walls allow visibility into learning spaces such as a crime scene lab and a 911 training call center. The building also includes designated areas for the JROTC and visual arts programs. A two-sided theater opens into the assembly/dining space in the Main Commons. Administrative offices, gymnasium and an additional outdoor dining space are situated on the ground floor.
Connections with the outdoors are established through classrooms with natural light and views as well as outdoor dining and learning areas. A green parking area creates a “Front Yard” as well as a buffer from street noise. A running track and soccer field are sited on the back side of the school.
Page designed the new three-story structure in association with DLR Group. B3Ci, a joint venture between Balfour Beatty Construction and 3Ci, was the general contractor. The campus opened to students in August 2018.
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