Ero Architects

Stephen F. Austin High School Replacement and Modernization

Houston ISD
  • Client

    Houston ISD

  • Budget


  • City


  • Sq. Ft.



ERO Architects modernized Stephen F. Austin High School for Houston ISD's 2012 Bond Program. The original 1936 building was the second oldest high school. For more than 80 years, the red-bricked Austin High School was the iconic building in the Eastwood community. The new school is 21st Century while paying homage to the past and neighborhood. The Art Deco-influenced façade was preserved and refurbished as a part of the project. “It was important to keep a part of this building that has been present in this community for so long,” Austin Principal Steve Guerrero said. “The entire building is just phenomenal. It feels very grand with lots of natural light. Every single part of the building is exciting.”

Along with the preservation of historic elements, the project includes the construction of 184,000 square feet of new building, including gyms, a library, science labs, and spaces for the band and music programs. New classrooms will be 30 percent larger, increasing from an average of 650 square feet to 850 square feet, while the science labs are doubling in size. The school also will have new landscaping and outdoor learning spaces.

Andreas Peeples, Construction General Manager said. “The facility is impressive, and it will provide students with new spaces to grow and thrive.” 

The exterior wall system consists primarily of concrete tilt-walls with a thin brick veneer, clad in metal panels, textured and painted. The use of tilt-wall construction manages cost and reduces construction time. Glazing of the building’s north and south elevations maximizes the potential for natural lighting. Solar shading minimizes direct solar loads and reduces glare. Innovative strategies optimize use of renovated spaces such as the pool that doubles for underwater welding and simulated ship channel piloting training.

Guiding principles for modernizing this legacy education facility are tradition, integrity, honor, excellence, collaboration, safety and flexibility for the benefit of the community and students. The students, parents, faculty and staff collaboratively generated teaching and learning strategies that support critical thinking, achievements, collaboration, ethical behavior and respect for intercultural diversity.

All spaces are flexible for collaboration between teacher and student, student to student, teacher to teacher, and teacher to parent, all to facilitate a culture of high achievement and quality communication skills. The building interiors have been designed to ‘future-enable’ building configurations which is achieved by minimizing the number of columns and internal load-bearing walls.

Photos ©Dee Zunker

“I feel that peoples’ voices were heard.” “This really is about our students. We’re providing them with a different type of learning environment,”

Rosario Cardona

Neighborhood Representative and Austin High Teacher
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