Editorial: Pasadena ISD Administration Building long overdue

Editorial: Pasadena ISD Administration Building long overdue
Posted on 03/24/2021
Editorial: Pasadena ISD Administration Building long overdue

By Art Del Barrio
Director of Communication

The Pasadena ISD Administration Building at 1515 Cherry Brook Lane has seen better days.  

Director of Maintenance, Tom Douglas says the building is plagued with an array of issues from the foundation to the roof and just about everything in between.

“This building used to be an old mall/shopping center,” said Douglas. “The foundation was built with a perimeter and a centered walkway, the rest was dirt. As development space was purchased, individual foundations were poured into each store space.”

Further, since each concrete pour was different, there was no set standard. Some of the concrete slabs do not have moisture barriers, which allows moisture to come up through the concrete.

Since Hurricane Harvey, the water table (the upper surface of the zone of saturation) under the building has risen -- causing more moisture to come up in certain parts of the building that continues to cause shifting, flooring damage and stenches.

Douglas adds that there is no consistency in the thickness of the foundation throughout the building. In some spots the foundation is only four inches thick, in others six inches. Further, the foundation is settling throughout the building, causing major leveling issues, shifts in concrete and cracked walls.

Linda Fletcher, the director of fine arts arrived to work one day and the foundation had shifted so much her desk lifted up off the ground and broke off of the wall it was attached to.

In the Food Service Department, one to four inch gaps between the floor and the walls separating offices causes privacy issues. “We can literally see into each other’s offices,” says Director of Child Nutrition, Mary Harryman.

Electrical Issues

The age of the administration building really shows when dealing with electricity. Electrical components that distribute power to the building were made before 1986. These are parts that are no longer made or no longer kept in stock. The district has had to rely on used parts at times to keep some components running. While it may not happen often, when a part does break sometimes it can take weeks or months to locate a replacement part.  

Further, all the electrical breaker boxes are maxed out. When new offices are added or remodeling takes place, expansions to breakers in breaker boxes that feed power are no longer possible.


The chill water system that cools the building is designed for large open areas, as the building used to be a shopping mall.

"To this day, the entire building is either too hot or too cold. “Sometimes the temperature inside the building is as low as 58 degrees and other days it’s in the 80’s,” said Reesha Brown, communication coordinator.

The antiquated system, coupled with new ductwork, has created a need for more balanced airflow.

If a new system were to be purchased, it would be necessary to hire a Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (M.E.P) Engineer to design the new system.


The plumbing in the building is over 40 years old. Shortly after Hurricane Harvey, there was a terrible stench in some of the Human Resource offices.  Maintenance crews discovered a sewage line underneath the building had burst due to age and settling.  

Crews came in and worked until the repairs were completed. In the meantime, staff were displaced while the repairs were taking place.

Fire Suppression System

The current fire suppression system still works, however, it was installed in 1986. Parts for the system are no longer manufactured. “A few years back a circuit board went out on the system,” said Douglas, “It took several months to locate an identical board, have it shipped and installed.”  

Douglas adds that it is highly likely that if the system goes out again, an entire new system will have to be installed, which will incur the cost of engineering studies necessary to replace the system.


Roof leaks are not uncommon. With shifts in the foundation and walls adjusting as well, the roof continues to stretch and adapt causing ponding and holes in the vinyl roofing, allowing water to enter the building.  

After years of patchwork and repairs, in order to replace the roof properly, the building would require a complete structural evaluation. 

A more centralized location

Dobie High School, which is the furthest high school from the Administration Building, is currently over 12 miles away from central office. The new building would make the trip only eight miles away, while also allowing for faster access to the beltway.

Pasadena High School would be the second furthest school away from the new Administration Building, at just over six miles. South Houston High, Sam Rayburn High and Lewis CTHS would be located around three miles away from the new building. Pasadena Memorial High School would be about 1.8 miles.

Remodeling can get expensive

District administrators have crunched numbers and studied various options and found that a new building is the most cost efficient way to go at this point.

The current building’s infrastructure is aging and in need of so much repair starting with the foundation and plumbing. Both would require the district to purchase portables or rent office space while renovations are being made, which would further require temporarily moving phone systems, Internet, desks, etc; then the expense of moving everything back.

New Construction

New construction has its advantages. Nothing has to be moved until construction is complete. No portables or office space would need to be rented. The plans have already been approved by the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees. In addition, funding for the project has already been allocated and will not cost the taxpayers additional funds.

Anytime you can build new construction without passing a bond with a tax increase, it is a win for the district the community and the taxpayers.


Pasadena ISD has held out for years to upgrade its facilities. Now is the perfect time for a new Administration Building.