Construction halted in identified area, exploration of excavation site continues
Fort Bend ISD, in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission, has identified a historic cemetery on the current construction site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center, located at University Boulevard and Chatham Avenue in Sugar Land.
The district has halted work in the identified area as the exploration of the excavation site continues. Work continues on the remaining part of the site, but measures have been put in place to ensure the two scopes of work do not overlap.
“We are proceeding under the guidance and expertise of the Texas Historical Commission to ensure we are respecting the history and lives of the people buried on this site. One of our community members who has a passion for history brought to our attention the possibility of archeological artifacts in the general area. We were careful as we began work, with an archeologist on site from the beginning,” said Dr. Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent of Schools.
The exploration is in the preliminary stages and at this point, there is not enough information or evidence to identify a time frame for the historic cemetery or any indication of who is buried at the site. The Texas Historical Commission is providing their expertise and will continue their work to learn more about the site and take appropriate action.
Burial sites are regulated by the Texas Health Code and Fort Bend ISD is operating in full compliance with construction permits and additional permits required by the State Antiquities Code.
Fort Bend ISD purchased the land in 2011, and construction of the James Reese Career and Technical Center began in 2017. When complete, it will offer advanced junior and senior level courses and give students an opportunity to explore careers in agriculture and natural resources, architecture and construction, arts and video communications, culinary arts, cosmetology, education and training, information technology, law and public safety, manufacturing and transportation and logistics.
The state-of-the-art facility is funded through the 2014 Bond Program, which included $59 million dollars earmarked for CTE improvements. The center was named in honor of James Reese, a former FBISD math teacher who later served as the first FBISD vocational director. Reese’s career in education spanned a total of 36 years, with 33 in FBISD. He passed away in 2009.