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May Update

What is the Schematic Design Phase? 

In the previous programming phase, decisions will have been made about what type of classrooms, labs, and career programs best suit the needs of HISD. These selections will have officially earned their way into our project plans. The Schematic Design Phase is where these spaces truly start to come alive and we establish the look and feel.

The architect uses a process called Design Charrette to gather feedback and creative ideas from all parties interested in the design of the project. The architect will host a 1-2 day collaborative session and present sketched design ideas to explore and share design ideas.
The word “charrette” is a French word meaning chariot, and comes from the 1800’s when architectural students would work feverishly on their final exams until a chariot was sent to collect the students drawings.
Participants in the charrette may
include administrators, board members, school leaders, department heads, educators, community members, program manager and the architect. The feedback and any refreshed ideas are analyzed and implemented into the design process. Getting buy-in and agreement at this stage is critical to avoid delays and costly changes to the construction schedule. This process of meeting and revising the design will continue until the design is agreed upon by all parties.

Benefits and goals of the design charrette:

  • being inspired by design ideas from various people

  • kick-starting a design or creating a solution through design

  • arrive at a schematic design that the whole team has developed together through mutual consensus


Once the designs are agreed upon, the architect will develop a professionally published schematic design book capturing the overall vision established during the charrette and consequent design meetings. The book will describe building solutions, site plans, computer-generated three-dimensional renderings, a program summary, schedule, and probable cost statement.

Once the schematic design phase is complete, next up is the Design Development Phase. Stay tuned as we continue to share insights, behind the scenes actions, and education, all along the way.


Flock License Plate Recognition Cameras Installed

License plate readers play a critical role in the national crime and safety conversation. This is true especially as communities, businesses, and schools increasingly rely on technology to drive insights to generate leads and solve and prevent criminal activities.

  • Instantly searchable data, including plate numbers or missing/covered plates, as well as vehicle make, model, color, alterations, and other unique identifying information. With a standard camera, you have to go through hours of footage to find the captured crime.
  • Integration with local law enforcement to identify vehicles involved in crimes from retail theft to amber alerts. When the camera identifies a flagged license plate, the camera will notify the authorities automatically, with no action needed by the camera owner.
  • Actionable evidence to bring to the authorities. Providing objective evidence mitigates bias and gives law enforcement what they need to quickly and effectively investigate a crime.
  • 24/7 protection. Even full-time security guards can’t monitor the entirety of a property. And if a crime does occur on their watch, actionable evidence is not always available to make an arrest. 

The benefits of license plate recognition technology extend to many individuals within a community, from law enforcement and business owners, to neighborhoods, schools, and beyond.

April 2024 Update

Pre Construction Process

What is the Design Pre-Planning Phase?

Behind the scenes much effort is being put in to drive our projects forward. We are currently in the Design Pre-Planning, or “Programing Phase,” working with our program manager, architects, campus principals, department directors and administration to determine scope and phasing of all projects. We know that these efforts are not always visible to our staff, students, and community, so we would like to share some of the actions taking place. 

During the programming phase, the architects, engineers, and program manager work with HISD and permitting jurisdictions to better understand the land, existing structures, infrastructure conditions and requirements, as well as the specific needs and goals for all of the projects being commissioned. Before the architects can sketch and model design ideas, they need to understand zoning, infrastructure conditions & demands, site considerations, local building codes, and more. Here is also where decisions are made regarding what goes into our new buildings and spaces. What are the specs and square footage of each new space based on use, occupancy, and equipment needs? A plan is finalized for everything from how many bathrooms are inside to how many parking spaces are outside. 

To prepare for the programming phase, a team of key stakeholders will be touring other local schools and CTE centers to understand the latest trends, see exciting new spaces and get ideas for things that will not only make Huffman students and staff thrive, but continue to meet the needs of our students well into the future. 

Once the programming phase is complete, we will move into the schematic design phase. Stay tuned as we continue to share insights, behind the scenes actions, and education, all along the way.