Ribbon Cutting for 'Solar Shade Tree' Built by UH Students Set for Nov. 15

This summer, students from the University of Houston Graduate Design/Build Studio (UHGD/BS) conceptualized and constructed a “Solar Shade Tree” for Houston’s McReynolds Middle School.

So far, this solar-powered structure has been a hit with students and community members. At 9 a.m., Nov. 15, the “Solar Shade Tree” will be officially welcomed to McReynolds Middle School during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

'Solar Shade Tree'“The Solar Shade Tree demonstrates alternative energy technologies and green building practices not commonly found in the buildings in the surrounding Fifth Ward and Denver Harbor neighborhoods,” said Patrick Peters, director of UHGD/BS. “Through its design, students can learn about solar power through the four recycled solar panels that generate electricity. They can learn about using recycled and locally sourced materials in green building, such as the Texas eastern red cedar used that was harvested nearby.”

Funding for this project was made possible by the SPARK School Park Program with additional support from McReynolds Middle School.

Peters and UHGD/BS students will be among the dignitaries attending this event. Also in attendance will be McReynolds Middle School Principal Marie Moreno and Kathleen Ownby, executive director of the SPARK. Distinguished guests will include Texas Sen. Mario Gallegos, Texas Rep. Ana Luna, Houston City Council member James Rodriguez and  Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman. U.S. Congressman Gene Green will be represented at this event by Jose Rivera.

The “Solar Shade Tree” offers McReynolds students a shaded area with seating, ceiling fans and lighting. Powering the fans and lights are four solar panels (150 watts each). The steel structure is 13 feet wide, 44 feet long and 12 feet in height.

This structure marks the 22nd project for UHGDBS. Each summer, Peters and architecture faculty members work with students as they enhance the city’s landscape. The collaboration of students and faculty produces useful amenities to schools, parks and non-profit organizations. This year, students received guidance from experienced architecture professors Mark Dillon, Cord Bowen and Jason Logan.

In October, UHGD/BS received the Mayor’s Proud Partner Award. Presented annually by Keep Houston Beautiful, this award honors projects that enhance and beautify the city.

To learn more about UHGDBS, visit http://www.uh.edu/gdbs/

WHAT: "Solar Shade Tree" Ribbon-cutting ceremonu
WHEN: 9 a.m., Nov. 15
WHERE: McReynolds Middle School (5910 Market St.)
WHO: UH Graduate Design Build Studio, McReynolds Middle School, SPARK School Park Program