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Leading the way schools will be built at SAISD

Burbank constructionIf you are driving from I-35 on Highway 90 on the near south side of the city, it is hard to miss the giant construction site that will be home to the new Luther Burbank High School. 


The project is massive. The new 250,000 square foot campus is situated on the southeast corner of the interchange facing Highway 90. The new campus will replace the existing 1960s-era structure, which is situated directly behind the new building.  

Principal Irene Talamantes noted that saving Burbank’s history was important for everyone throughout the process. 
“Murals, colors, and themes were preserved and will be displayed throughout the design of the new building,” she said. “The artist that created the murals in our present cafeteria was consulted regarding how to best represent his work for the enjoyment of future students, staff and visitors.” 

“This new building ties our legacy together with the original building from 1937 to the present and will be more than capable of meeting our requirements for the future and for the staff and students that come after us. As we get closer to moving into the new building, the excitement surrounding it will grow even stronger,” Talamantes said. 

Paul Lindsey is the senior project manager from the construction company Morganti Texas who says the new Burbank High School structure will be as iconic as the original one has been in the community for more than 90 years. 

“Overwhelmingly they are super excited about it,” he said of families that have expressed their enthusiasm over the project. “They can’t wait to see the end result. And they deserve it. This will put them all in one building where they (the students) are centrally located.” 

Currently, the last portion of the building is being built. Crews will then close the exterior shell and begin work on the interior by the first of the new year. The project is being built in four phases. The cafeteria and kitchen are going up first, followed by the science labs and classrooms. The next section is for general classrooms, and finally the main entrance and administrative offices. 

Unlike most of the Bond 2016 projects, which consists of 13 campuses for a total of $450 million, the construction of the main building at Burbank is happening from the ground up, without having to work around teachers, students and staff. Since it’s a brand new building, the day-to-day operations of the high school are going on uninterrupted in the current structure.

“This is the ideal way to do it,” Lindsey said. “Typically, we’re coming in and having to phase an existing building, and they’re having class in the same building we’re working in.”

The design of Burbank, by architecture firm Garza Bomberger & Associates, incorporates a future-ready plan outlined by San Antonio ISD’s Master Plan 2030. 

Kamal ElHabr, associate superintendent for construction and development services, said the work being completed by this and other Bond 2016 projects, will carry the District forward. 

“We have implemented several new educational features into the design of the new Burbank facilities including flexible spaces, common areas, connectivity everywhere, sustainable environment, and mobile furniture,” he said. “This trend will continue as we update our educational specifications with input from the campuses and District to be used in future projects.” 

Lindsey is proud that the Burbank project is leading the way. 

“Burbank High School is going to be a prototype, something the District will look to for future types of high school construction processes,” he said. “We’re building something that will be there for a long time and that the District will try to replicate in future buildings.” 

Students will be able to learn in their new building by the time school starts for the 2021-22 school year. The project will then move into demolition mode as the old academic building is torn down. The current auditorium and athletic fields will then undergo renovations and additions, leaving the overall work at Burbank High School to be completed in 2022. 


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