This new middle/high school, grades 6 through 12, is located on the site that housed the original Phyllis Wheatly High School. Wheatly High was once one of the largest Black high schools in the United States graduating notable alums like Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, musician Joe Sample and the new school’s namesake, Congressman Mickey Leland.
Fifth Ward is a historically African American community located just north of downtown Houston. Due to the influx of new residents to the City and the Fifth Ward neighborhood’s proximity to the central business district, Houston Independent School District sought to bring new facilities to the community by constructing a 136,000 square foot all-boys school.
With a focus on science and technology, the new Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy includes state-of-the-art robotics classrooms and science learning centers. It also includes a lecture hall, a multi-purpose room, learning commons, extended learning centers, and a gymnasium.
While modern materials like trespa were used to place emphasis on and showcase the school’s robotics classrooms, masonry and decorative metal panels were employed in a manner that respected the historical buildings once on the site and in the neighborhood.
The community was actively involved in the design process to ensure that the new 21st-century design paid homage to the history of the site and neighborhood.