July 20, 2023 by HCDE Communications
Harris County Department of Education rolled out the red carpet for guests on Wednesday to celebrate the grand opening of its new Adult Education Learning Center.
More than 100 HCDE leaders, partners, and community members gathered in the lobby of the four-story building for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which featured remarks by Board President Andrea Duhon, Superintendent James Colbert Jr., Adult Education Senior Director Eduardo Honold, and student Jared Polanco.
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Located in north Houston’s Lindale neighborhood, the 51,000-square-foot Adult Education Learning Center designed by Cre8 Architects features two custom murals, 17 classrooms, five laboratories for allied health professions, administrative offices, a student lounge, and a multipurpose community room.
“I hope this building and these murals will serve as inspiration for those who have the strength to pull themselves out of adversity,” Colbert said as he coined the building’s 30-foot mural of a faceless woman as the ‘Goddess of Grit.’”
Behind the main staircase, muralist Sebastien Boileau painted the “Goddess of Grit” to symbolize the overcoming of adversity. An abstract wall treatment with “HCDE” disguised among the paint strokes decorates the main entrance. Both pieces were conversation-starters among attendees.
The $19 million building, designed to mirror a community college environment, also features improved pedestrian access, an outdoor patio, and a two-story secure parking garage.
“We must remember the true-life force of this building lies not in the brick and mortar, but in the people gracing these halls,” said Board President Duhon. “It’s the people who will fill these classrooms with dreams and aspirations to shape a brighter tomorrow for themselves and their families who make this a sanctuary of hope.”
As a member of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the largest Adult Education Literacy consortium in Texas, HCDE’s Adult Education division serves more than 6,000 students annually who enroll in programs such as English as a Second Language (ESL), High School Equivalency (HSE, formerly known as GED), and vocational certifications like phlebotomy.
Under the direction of Honold, who returned to lead the Adult Education division earlier this year, the new facility will allow Adult Education to expand its offerings and better meet the needs of Harris County residents.
“Our division is starting a new chapter committed to breaking barriers and bridging societal gaps,” said Honold. “This building will foster an environment where learners can thrive, skills can be sharpened, and our staff can ensure education remains accessible to all learners regardless of age, gender, and origin.”
During the event, student Jared Polanco, who recently obtained her High School Equivalency certificate, emphasized the new Adult Education Learning Center’s impact on adult learners.
“HCDE helped me grow educationally and as a person. They showed me the light when I thought all hope was lost,” Polanco said, captivating the audience with her journey. “This is a new, safe environment where students will be able to learn. I guarantee each student will leave feeling empowered, just like I did.”
Following the official ribbon-cutting, guests were invited to tour the new facility, which included stops at the two murals commissioned by Colbert to inspire students.
Adult Education will begin offering classes at the new Learning Center in August 2023.
To learn more about HCDE’s Adult Education programs, visit hcde-texas.org/adult-education.