Milby High School

  • area / size 280,000 sqft
  • Completed 2017
  • Location Houston, Texas, , United States
  • Kirksey Architecture created a design to preserve history and tradition while bringing modern updates to Milby High School, one of the oldest schools in Houston, Texas.

    Milby High School, one of Houston ISD’s oldest schools, brings modern updates and state-of-the-art technology to a significantly historic school, originally built in 1926. Carefully renovated by Kirksey’s PK-12 Education Team, the design paid attention to every detail to ensure that Milby’s history was thoughtfully captured.

    The design retains the 1926 historically significant structure as the “heart of the school,” and wraps 240,000 square feet of new construction around a central courtyard that features a vegetable and butterfly garden.

    The school includes eight career and technical education (CTE) areas: engineering, welding, and HVAC labs, a culinary arts program with a student-run café, a cosmetology program, and a print shop. Allowing the students to practice in a realistic environment was key for the design at Milby, and each CTE area is available for community use, including a clinic and daycare.

    During the demolition process, it became clear that nearly every type of construction possible took place over the past nine decades. Renovation after renovation had been performed on the school, but never one as extensively as this most recent undertaking.

    A “hidden” balcony stair, revealed during construction, was transformed into a social gathering stair using re-purposed sections of the school’s 1930s gym floor. Other surprises included old 1920s newspapers found stuffed within the walls. Rather than throw them out, the design team incorporated the newspaper drawings, ads and print into new wall graphics as a way to tie Milby’s history back to the new renovation.

    Learning no longer happens in a box, so glass walls with glazing are featured throughout the school for increased visibility and shared experiences. Classrooms are positioned around a “learning commons” that feature soft furniture for collaboration and help foster the feeling of a neighborhood.

    With almost a century of history to preserve and honor, the Kirksey team led a committed effort to design the best possible solution for both the students, administration and community. As a result, the school will enjoy a modern facility that will offer a 21st century education for another 100 years.

    ArchitectKirksey Architecture
    Associate Architect: Huerta Architects
    PhotographySlyworks Photography & Ruben Serrano