2017—Sterling Aviation High School

Houston ISD—Sterling Aviation High School
Architect: Stantec

“The aviation high school is grounded by the promise to provide future-ready learning environments for students, which includes state of the art aviation technology, flexibility to embrace multiple program delivery methods, and learning commons that support individual and collaborative learning styles. It boosts of the country’s first privately owned hangar. This robust learning environment was created to address multiple approaches to the delivery of education with evolving pedagogies.”


  • The Aviation school, produces pilots, mechanics, engineers, and leaders. The central commons is a runway with an airplane hangar, simulation rooms and mechanic spaces
  • Design inspired by college and career environments to create a culture of success, emulating spaces in which students will one day work


  • The central runway is a flexible multi-function space with visual connections to all learning spaces
  • Collaborative learning neighborhoods allow for independent and group work
  • The school is designed to be used by both the district and the surrounding community, for events like church gatherings, community performances and town hall meetings


  • Sustainability—Star of DistinctionThe LEED Silver school is well connected by multi-modal transportation
  • Promotes energy efficiency with enhanced commissioning, highly-reflective paving and roof, thermal control, and 100% daylight in classrooms/ commons
  • Water use reduction through drought tolerant vegetation, efficient irrigation, and low-flow/dual-flush fixtures


  • The building supports a new culture of connecting the school to its community by becoming a beacon of educational growth for students
  • Focusing on career readiness, the school provides connections to the airport and the city’s downtown business district
  • Community within is enhanced by the purposeful arrangement of collaboration and gathering spaces
  • The programs produce mechanics, pilots and control tower specialists who can work at the nearby airport or in surrounding community


  • The school is a collaboration between the district, community, and the design team addressing the needs of the community
  • Continual input sought from the community by holding design charrettes and meetings, involving the public in their children’s future
  • The design evolved with the guiding principles streamlining the concept and intent
  • The scale of the school is broken down into neighborhoods, each with access to flex-classrooms, science, breakout, library, and collaboration spaces

School Transformation

  • Transformation—Star of DistinctionThis school replaces existing high school on the same site to provide enhanced spaces for 21st century learning
  • The multi-functional spaces promote peer-to-peer collaboration and create flexible learning neighborhoods, enhancing active learning
  • Increased access to technology and collaboration spaces outside of the focused classroom spaces
  • Learning on display: aviation career tech spaces visible from main commons, engaging students in both passive and active learning experiences

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner