About Chinquapin Preparatory School
- Founded in 1969, Chinquapin Preparatory School is a private, nonprofit, college preparatory boarding school in Highlands, Texas (30 miles east of downtown Houston). The mission of this unique school is to provide a high-quality college-preparatory education to able and motivated youth from low-income families in the greater Houston area.
- Currently, 150 boys and girls in grades 6-12 attend Chinquapin. Approximately 80% are low-income; 83% are Hispanic, 12.2% are African American, 2.7% are White, and 2.1% are Asian.
- Male students in grades 7-12 live on campus Monday through Friday; girls and 6th grade boys are bused to and from campus daily.
- Chinquapin lives by its motto: Quid pro Quo, or “Something for Something.” All students engage in community service and help to maintain the campus through daily chores.
- 100% of Chinquapin graduates matriculate into college; 90% earn a four-year degree or are on track for completion, which is far higher than the typical success rate for low-income students in Texas.
- The school’s operating budget for 2014-2015 is $2,090,800. Almost two-thirds of the budget comes from private donations and events, 17% from endowment, 12% from designated funds, 3% from tuition (each Chinquapin family is asked to pay a small tuition, based on income), 4% from the National School Lunch Program and eRate, and <1% from other sources.
- Chinquapin Preparatory School is led by Director Dr. Laura Henry and accredited by the Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools (TAAPS).
The Need for Campus Improvements
As Chinquapin marks its 45th year, its leaders and board are preparing to address a number of pressing facility challenges and needs at the school, which were delineated through a recent needs assessment. These needs include the following:
Concept for Girls' Dormitory and New Dining Hall
- Girls’ Dormitory – Providing equitable facilities for girls has been a longstanding goal of Chinquapin’s Board, and over time, this idea has gained traction. Building a girls’ dorm on campus would make it possible for our female students to eliminate their long bus commutes each morning and evening during the week, thereby freeing up much more time for them to engage in extracurricular activities, receive tutoring and other forms of support, and participate more fully in the life of the school. A recent Chinquapin parent survey showed strong support for the idea. Moreover, a recent pilot program in which four girls lived with female faculty in a repurposed faculty residence on campus was very successful. We are therefore convinced that the time has finally come to build a girls’ dormitory to equalize opportunities for our female students.
- Dining Hall – The dining hall is in need of a major renovation, both to increase number of students it can seat and to bring the kitchen and dining facilities up to date. The hot water heater, cooler, and most of the appliances have outlived their expected utility. The kitchen and dining facilities are inadequate to handle the addition of 40 extra female students who will be boarding on campus. A larger, better equipped, and up-to-date dining hall and kitchen will also provide a central gathering place for the school community.
We have developed a highly practical and economical plan to combine the girls’ dormitory and dining hall into one building in the heart of the Chinquapin campus. An updated and larger dining hall, containing a modern kitchen and facilities, will be on the first floor. The girls’ dormitory will be on the second floor, with bedrooms for 40 boarding students as well as meeting and gathering spaces for all female students.
- Gym – Chinquapin’s gym presents a number of challenges. The roof had reached the end of its useful life and has just been replaced in order to end leaking and water damage during inclement weather. The floor, acoustic panels, bathrooms, and ceilings also need to be replaced or repaired to reach the standards needed for daily student use.
- Boys’ Dorm and Staff Housing – The boys’ dorm needs a community gathering space where group meetings can be held, and a security system must be installed. General improvements will also be made to staff housing.
- New 6th Grade Classroom – The current administration area will be remodeled to house the 6th grade classroom, which will allow for easier access to the Moore Library, as well as an atmosphere more conducive to learning. The current 6th grade classroom, which is adjacent to the gym, will be converted into a weight room.
- Administration Offices, Meeting Rooms and Storage – The girls’ dormitory will include a new, smaller, girls’ day facility that will be attached to the residence hall. The current girls’ day facility will be repurposed as the administration offices, a conference room, and storage space. Its location near the proposed new entrance to the campus is ideal for visitors.
- Infrastructure – The construction of the new girls’ dorm will require the installation of a new campus sewer line. The campus also has drainage problems that must be rectified through a comprehensive drainage plan.
- Parking, Traffic Flow and Campus Unity – The parking area will be resurfaced, and vehicle thoroughfares will be added to connect the campus road system. A new bus loading and unloading area will improve efficiency in the drop-off/pick-up process and will be safer for students.
- Security – Security improvements will include installation of security gates at entrances, improved lighting across the entire campus, fire-alarm systems and computer-monitored access to the dorms.
- Student Transportation – Chinquapin’s full-sized buses – which transport non-boarding students to and from the campus every day – are driven for over 10 years before being replaced. In addition, the small buses, which are used for field trips, athletic competitions, etc., also need to be replaced on a rotating basis.
- Technology – To enable students and faculty to take advantage of the latest technology resources, we must upgrade our server, increase the number of computers available, and install new Wi-Fi equipment in dorms and classrooms.
Chinquapin Prep Site Plan
Capital Campaign to Fund the Planned Improvements
- Chinquapin’s leaders and board are planning an $11 million capital campaign to fund the vital facilities improvements described above as well as to provide the endowment and maintenance funding necessary to ensure the school’s long-term financial strength and sustainability.
- The timeline for the planned capital improvements will depend on fundraising success.
- The ultimate goal is to complete the project prior to the school’s 50th anniversary in 2019.
- A more detailed project and campaign plan is forthcoming.
Download the latest Dorm/Dining Hall Schematics