High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Houston Independent School District

HISD_HSPVA daylight

Shah Smith & Associates, Inc. (SSA) provided Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing design engineering services for a new performing arts high school located in downtown Houston. The school features specialized performance and fine arts spaces to enhance the artistic environment of the 750 students.

The specialized high school showcases a dramatic front entrance with double-high glass windows and a wide stairwell, 800-set main theater with balcony, dance and music studios, 150-seat recital hall, 200-seat theater, 190-seat black box theater, rehearsal rooms, modern outdoor dining area, two levels of underground parking, and an outdoor roof terrace.

The MEP systems designed for this facility include the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, normal and emergency power systems, fire protection, domestic water, and storm drainage systems. The facility was awarded LEED Certified status by the USGBC. The following highlights some of the unique infrastructure designed to meet the wide array of student needs at this diverse facility:

  • Underfloor air distribution in the main theater for improved indoor air quality and thermal comfort.
  • Low air velocity systems throughout the facility to reduce noise levels in the performing arts spaces.
  • Exhaust air energy recovery systems in the outside air systems to reduce the building energy use.
  • Interconnection to downtown cooling infrastructure for HVAC purposes to reduce construction and maintenance costs.
  • Grease exhaust and grease waste system for the state of the art commercial kitchen.
  • Centralized acid waste system with PH monitoring for the science classrooms.
  • Subsurface draining system under and around the lowest level of the underground parking garage.
  • Networked lighting controls with zoned control capable of daylight harvesting.
  • Theatrical lighting systems powered from centralized dimming racks.
  • AV power system with electrostatic filtering and noise-cancelling technology for sensitive AV production and recording spaces.

Site Owner

Houston Independent School District


Houston, TX

Project Cost


Project Completion



Performing Arts