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Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. Middle School opened in the fall of 2006 as an innovative new design in modern middle schools. It was funded and built as a result of the 2003 NEISD public bond program. The school boasts over 200,000 square feet divided succintly in to three "houses". One each for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Harris Middle School also offers state-of-the-art facilities for fine arts and career and technology classes. The building was designed by the Pfluger Associates and Chumney & Associates. The building's contractor was Joeris General Contractors. For the design, Harris won the 2005 Design Concept Award from the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International.
The campus is divided in houses by grade level, which helps with student learning, discipline and safety. Harris is also equipped with wireless connections throughout the entire school. Harris has state-of-the-art facilities for fine arts and athletics. In fact, it is the only middle school in the district with a Black Box Theatre - a smaller performance venue.
Harris Middle School is named for Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. Dr. Harris is native of San Antonio and graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1974. He then went on to attend the University of Houston and Texas Tech School of Medicine. Dr. Harris was selected by NASA in July 1991 to became an astronaut. He was to serve as mission specialist on future space shuttle missions.
Dr. Harris flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in April 1993 as mission specialist for STS-55. He also served as payload commander for STS-63 in February 1995, the first joint American/Russian space mission. Dr. Harris is the first African-American to have walked in space and has traveled over 7 million miles in a space shuttle. In 1996 Dr. Harris left NASA, but remained in Houston.
In 1998, he founded the Harris Foundation whose mission is "to invest in community-based initiatives to support education, health and wealth. THF supports programs that empower individuals, in particular minorities and other economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to recognize their potential and pursue their dreams."
Dr. Harris has visited the school as a part of the ExxonMobil Dream Tour, "...a motivational series that encourages America's middle school students to both find and achieve their potential by encouraging them to go to college and study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as a way to fulfill their dreams."