Behind the Fence

Phase 2 of campus modernization underway

Cade Spencer, Editor-in-Chief

As the initial phase of the campus modernization project funded by the 2017 Bond Program, the new parking garage, equipped with tennis courts on the fourth story, was completed over the summer.

“It was a great feeling to go to the top of the parking garage around 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning to see the tennis team practicing on the new courts,” Management Assistant to the Principal Debby Theis said. “There was an element of excitement in the air.”

Since the garage is completed, the tennis team held their first match on the new courts on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

“The tennis courts have really benefited the team because on top of looking nice, we are able to have our own space to play and for spectators to watch away from distractions,” junior Cristina Canepa said. “The only downside I would say is that the fences are not any higher than regular courts, so it is easy to lose balls into the parking lot.”

Once the new courts were finished, the JE Dunn construction company, alongside Page Architects, began to build the foundation of the new athletic facility on the site of the old tennis courts. The new facility, which is expected to be finished by summer 2021, will include a competition gym, practice gym, weight room, training rooms, and administrative offices.

“The new athletic facility will provide increased space with modern amenities for our outstanding athletic programs,” Theis said. “I believe there will be a lot of pride felt and expressed when the Bulldogs practice and compete in their new venue.”

As described by Page Project Architect Jason Fischer, the most innovative feature of the new athletic facility is its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. A project is designated with a LEED certification when it receives a certain amount of points for its green building strategies which are awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“It’s a very big deal that AISD strives for LEED certifications for their construction projects, and it shows that they care about the community and the planet,” Fischer said. “Page is thrilled to be a part of the team that will deliver a LEED certified building to James Bowie High School.”

In addition to the modernization of the athletic facility, renovations to the fine arts facilities, including the auditorium, are scheduled to be completed by summer 2022.

“I think that expanding [the auditorium’s] backstage would be beneficial for the Starlight Theatre Company,” senior Aidan O’Brien said. “If there is more backstage area, it would allow us to have larger sets and to be able to wait for our next cue without having to worry about getting in someone’s way due to too little space.”

While the closure of campus due to COVID-19 regulations has caused difficulties for students, Theis expressed that it has been beneficial for the campus construction projects.

“The construction company and contractors have been very diligent in adhering to all the safety precautions concerning COVID-19,” Theis said. “[The campus closure] has given the contractors the opportunity to get some work done and begin other projects that would have otherwise had to wait until school breaks when students are not actively on campus.”