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Project Spotlight: Houston ISD – Sam Houston MSTC High School

by Kat Phelps, Marketing Manager

Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center is located in Houston, Texas, and is part of Houston Independent School District. Sam Houston MSTC is touted as the 2nd oldest High School in the State of Texas. The original high school, built in 1954, was initially small because of the low neighborhood density. As it grew over the years, each addition was designed to meet short-term needs without considering the overall campus layout. This resulted in a lack of connectivity, long walks between multiple buildings, temporary buildings that became permanent, and several security issues. The vision for this 369,141 sf project, designed by Stantec, integrated a new comprehensive high school, which included renovating and incorporating the recently constructed science wing.

The project is LEED Silver certified – above the district’s originally targeted LEED Certified. Transparent views throughout the facility encourage collaboration, put learning on display, and strengthen student connections with nature and their peers. An outdoor learning courtyard promotes education through discovery, and all classrooms have views of the exterior. Part of the design process also included careful consideration for reusing and renovating parts of the existing science wing.

DBR provided mechanical, electrical, and technology design for the remodeled school. For mechanical systems, we designed a new water-cooled central plant to feed the entire campus, using high-efficiency centrifugal chillers and a variable flow primary distribution pumping system. Air-side mechanical systems include a high performance VAV design, with low temperature supply air allowing us to reduce first costs while optimizing energy performance. CO2 sensors, occupancy sensors, time-based scheduling, and digital electronic controls are used for efficient temperature and humidity control as well as ventilation optimization. The low temperature supply air system reduces the airflow required to meet the comfort requirements of the occupants, resulting in a lower installed cost with smaller duct sizes and fewer air devices, while reducing the fan energy required.

The building features LED interior and exterior lighting, with modern lighting controls including time schedules, occupancy sensors, and photocells. The building design includes daylighting and views in most areas. Sam Houston MSTC is predicted to have an energy cost savings of over 21% compared to the energy code baseline. All of this was accomplished for a final cost below Houston ISD’s original construction budget, proving that high-performing buildings can be delivered without added cost.

Development Team

Owner/Developer Houston ISD
Architect Stantec
MEP Engineer DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Structural Engineer Garza + McLain Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer S&G Engineering Consultants, LLC

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