The following are some questions that were asked at pre-design community input meetings, with answers.
When will the new Walnut Springs Elementary be ready for use?
The new WSE school is scheduled to be ready for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
Where on the campus will the new WSE building be constructed?
The location of the building has not yet been determined. Corgan Architects and DSISD are currently gathering stakeholder feedback (teachers, parents, community members) before beginning the design process. That feedback, in addition to site and traffic studies, will play a role in determining the location of the building.
Will the new WSE be one story or two stories?
This has not been determined at this time. There are positives and negatives to each option and the architects will continue to consider all stakeholder feedback, and the cost-effectiveness and functionality of each option before making a final decision. That is one of the questions in the Google form survey.
Will there be any shared spaces (cafeteria, CL&I, gyms, etc.) between WSE and DSMS?
Shared spaces between the two schools are a possibility. Costs savings could be realized by sharing some areas; however, the option that is best for the students that will be using these spaces is the priority for DSISD. Some spaces, like the cafeteria, are not large enough to accommodate students from both schools.
Will middle school and elementary students be in shared parts of the campus at the same times?
If shared spaces are determined to be the best fit for the campus, scheduling of these spaces will be determined by building leaders and interaction between MS and ES students will be limited to purposeful, planned and supervised collaborative opportunities.
Are there any current buildings on the DSMS property that could be relocated or removed?
There are some options for opening up some space on the southern part of the property. Currently DSISD and the city of Dripping Springs are working on arrangements that will connect the campus to other wastewater services, allowing the wastewater treatment plant to be removed from the campus. The DSISD Facilities and Construction portable buildings, as well as the Peabody House that is used by the 19-plus (ACCESS) program could potentially be relocated to space at the current Walnut Springs Elementary campus when it is converted to administration. There also are older warehouse-type structures that at one time were used by high school ag and mechanics programs that are now used for storage and maintenance work areas.
When will renovations take place at DSMS?
To minimize disruptions to student learning, the plan is to confine as much of the DSMS renovations as possible to the summers of 2020 and 2021.
Where will the traffic ingress and egress points be for each school? Will they be the same?
As part of the programming process, Corgan Architects have studied the traffic patterns at DSMS and the current WSE to understand the needs for student drop-off and pick-up. At this point the traffic patterns at the campus haven’t been decided on, and that will be done in conjunction with the location of the new building. Revised traffic patterns could potentially create some efficiency with the middle school flow as well as for the new elementary school.
Will there be a traffic signal added to 290 to help facilitate traffic?
TxDOT has been an excellent partner with DSISD and we expect that relationship to continue in a positive manner as we move forward with this project. A traffic study will be conducted to provide information to help determine needs. In addition, we will seek opportunities to coordinate with the City of Dripping Springs transportation plan. It will also be important to know where the campus ingress and egress points will be before determining whether and where any additional traffic signals might be installed.
Prior to the HS/MS building swap that was approved in 2008, the district stated that there wasn’t enough space on the 111 Tiger Lane site for the needed high school additions. If that was the case, how can we now fit an elementary school?
A full high school facility (along with auxiliary buildings like those used for ag and athletics) could not fit on the acreage at the current DSMS campus. However an elementary school (or in this case an elementary school and a middle school) has a smaller footprint, meaning the space does allow for this project. To give some perspective, Sycamore Springs Elementary/Middle School sits on 49 acres. The high school covers 100 acres. This site (current DSMS) is 46 acres, in addition to 11.5 acres of wooded area.
Will the public be notified when plans are finalized?
Yes. Public meetings and opportunities to submit feedback will be available through every major step of the project, including when a design is conceptualized.
How will security be handled when construction personnel are on campus?
Security is and will continue to be a priority. Procedures will be put in place to make sure that personnel in the building are logged in and cleared. Many construction companies that often work in schools also have security protocols that will support this priority. Because most the DSMS renovations will be done in the summer, this will mainly involve personnel working on the same property but not in the same building as students.
Will cost-saving choices be made in the design and construction of Walnut Springs Elementary?
Throughout the design and construction process, DSISD and the architects will work closely with the contractor to identify cost-savings opportunities. There will be choices along the way, and multiple factors contributing to those decisions including, price, durability, quality and functionality. The architect also will meet with facility groups and engineering consultants to review and discuss various infrastructure options that could lead to efficiencies.
Will there be an effort made to make the new Walnut Springs Elementary building “match” the look of Dripping Springs Middle School?
The architect team will set a goal of making the new building (WSE) and the current building (DSMS) look aesthetically pleasing when viewed together. They will be aware of color and material matches when they start the design process.Typically when building new construction on an existing site, the design focus is not to copy existing buildings, but to compliment them.