Douglass ES recognized for architecture

douglasses2

A beloved East Side landmark refurbished to
better meet the educational needs of 21st century
students has been lauded for its architectural beauty.

New construction and renovations to restore
Douglass ES to its 1915 splendor earned Jerry Sparks
of Kell Muñoz Architects the Mayor’s Choice Award.
He was honored at the American Institute of
Architects San Antonio Chapter Design awards
ceremony, held annually to recognize outstanding
work on publicly-funded architectural projects.

“This was a complete overhaul and renovations of
historic buildings and replacement of other facilities,”
said Associate Superintendent, Facilities Services
Kamal ElHabr.

The $9.3 million project funded by the 1997
SAISD Bond Program expanded the size of the school
to 79,000 square-feet, and included refurbishing
the auditorium’s original hardwood floors, plus new
construction for a gymnasium, building addition,
and classrooms built specifically for students in the
Early Childhood and Life Strides programs.

Particularly challenging renovations were
making the main building handicap accessible, and
addressing environmental issues that arose.
Glass walls were constructed to complement - as
well as separate - the old from the new, and provide a
seamless transition for visual appeal.

"But all of this was secondary to making the school
very functional for the next generation,” ElHabr said.
When constructed nearly a century ago, the
original main building was the new home for
San Antonio’s first African-American high school
following its move from North St. Mary’s and
Convent streets downtown.