Scenes from the Set of HSPVA’s Upcoming Downtown Campus, Now In Progress

New HSPVA Building at Austin St. and Texas Ave., Downtown, Houston, 77002

The first act of construction of the new downtown facilities for the High School for Performing and Visual Arts featured an extended solo by a lone excavator supported by a small cluster of white vehicles, per photos of the site released yesterday. Work on the former parking lot bounded by Austin, Capitol, Caroline, and Rusk streets got the go-ahead in late February now that some budget issues are settled, according to HISD.

Here’s a ground-level shot that introduces a few more characters to the production — in this scene, the Excavator meets with the Man in Yellow, as a Blue Semi observes in stony silence:


New HSPVA Building at Austin St. and Texas Ave., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Behind them, the Great Southwest Building at 1314 Texas Ave. contemplates its Petroleum Building past and possible residential future. The 1927 building was developed by J. S. Cullinan of the Texas Company (which became Texaco in 1959) to house a variety of oil companies’ operations; plans from Dallas-based Todd Interests are currently in the works to preserve the skyscraper’s Mesoamerican-themed Art Deco exterior and redevelop the interior as apartments.

And here’s another rendering of what the space will look like by opening night, if the $80-million project wraps up in late 2018 as expected:

New HSPVA Building at Austin St. and Texas Ave., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Images: H.S.P.V.A. Friends (photos); Gensler (rendering)

Encore on Austin St.

11 Comment

  • That school needs a better name. HSPVA sounds like a collection of venereal diseases.

  • @Superdave …and STEM sounds like an infection. As to the site, I’m really pleased work has resumed after a worrisome delay.

  • Honestly, I can’t believe that HISD spent the money for this expensive real estate for HSPVA. This school could have been built in another central location, for a fraction of the land cost, and probably would have saved on construction costs as well, if land would have been purchased for parking rather than pay for an underground garage. Our ever increasing tax dollars at work.

  • Native: Not that I disagree, but why would construction be more expensive? I get the land argument…

  • I’ve lived in this town long enough to know that HISD will most likely squander the construction money raised through the bond issue. Then, they will probably come back to voters for another bond issue saying we need the new money to supplement the wasted original money.
    As for the $80 million price tag for this building: I’ll bet it comes in closer to $100 million when it is all said and done since there isn’t much accountability. Why does a school need to cost $80 million?

  • Hasn’t HISD owned this land for decades? They didn’t purchase new land to build this.

  • Both of the new secondary high schools are along Metrorail lines, the other being the criminal justice school over by Scott and Leeland on the East End along the Purple Line. Guess they’re trying to give the kids that “urban” experience.

  • There was a school on this site from the late 1850s, and it was a public school from the 1870s. HISD has had the block for a long time. Makes sense to put it to good use.

  • My son is a graduate of HSPVA. His reaction to seeing the photo of the proposed school: “Windows?!”

  • This noble endeavor by HSPVA ensures that young, creative people help magnify the vibrant mix downtown.

  • Proposed 2016-2017 HISD budget cuts almost 10% of HSPVA’s funding due to reallocation of funds away from GT (gifted and talented) programs. All HSPVA students are considered GT. If this budget passes, the school will be on the receiving end of the largest percentage cut in the district. The next largest cut, going to Bellaire HS, is roughly 4%.

    Great building, hopefully they’ll be able to afford teachers…