Alumni, parents protest local high school name change

Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts is moving from the Montrose area to downtown and could have its name changed.

HOUSTON - The High School for Performing and Visual Arts is moving out of the Montrose area and into a new $80 million downtown building under construction near Minute Maid Park.

A circle of alumni and parents believe legacy and it's well-known name played leading roles.

"We built this with that blood, sweat and tears," said HSPVA alumnus Karl Bowles. "(It's) not only us but the community together have done this."

Though Bowles, who graduated in the Class of '76, wears school pride on his chest, he is troubled about one word coming their new campus marquee: Kinder.

"That's a billboard for a pipeline company at taxpayers expense," Bowles said.

The Kinder Foundation donated $7.5 million and equipment to boost construction of the school. Their money also claimed naming rights.

"They absolutely are buying the identity," said Sarah Terrell, the mother of an HSPVA senior.

Terrell believes kinder got an deal unfair to taxpayers and wants change.

In fact, she helped create kindergiveitback.org, a website posting details of negotiations and links to a petition with nearly 800 signatures asking kinder to back off naming rights.

"If you wanted to have a lead tenancy in an office building in this location, it would cost you many millions every year and the minute you stop paying the rent, your name would come off that building," Terrell said. "But the Kinders have a perpetual right."

In a statement, The Kinder Foundation told KHOU 11 News that "The HISD board agreed to affix our name to the school and while we were appreciative of this honor, it was not the primary reason for our gift."

HISD told KHOU 11 News the foundation's donation "no longer includes the stipulation of renaming the school."

After seeing the petition, Richard Kinder sent administrators a letter releasing HISD from naming rights obligations.

The district said any additional name change requires board of trustees approval.

See the petition here.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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