Q: When will the new Walnut Springs Elementary be ready for use?
A: The new WSE school is scheduled to be ready for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
Q: Where on the campus will the new WSE building be constructed?
A: The location of the building is on the southeast side (behind) the current middle school, with its front entrance facing east. Additional space was opened up by removal of the DSISD Facilities and Construction portable buildings, the Peabody House, and a few older warehouse-type structures that were used for storage and maintenance work areas.
Q: How was stakeholder input used in the development of the design?
A: The district held general public meetings, meetings with neighbors on Peabody Lane, and staffs from WSE and DSMS to gather input prior to the design process, then provided updates as well. In addition, an online survey collected input that was applied by the architects to the design and was also considered in developing traffic patterns.
Q: Is Dripping Springs Middle School capacity being reduced?
A: Originally, there was discussion of connecting the two schools in a way that would have resulted in the loss of 8-10 classrooms in DSMS for use as elementary classrooms, but the final plans will only have a minimal impact on middle school capacity. A total of six classrooms are being converted to create new collaboration spaces. Four classrooms in the upper A wing will be converted into new collaboration spaces specifically for the middle school, while two classrooms in the DSMS B wing (near the connection with the new Walnut) will be used to create a new shared collaboration space for the middle school and elementary. Ultimately, this will allow the district to maintain capacity at DSMS for at least 1,200 students.
Q: Will there be any shared spaces between WSE and DSMS?
A: An outdoor amphitheatre area is planned that will be used by students from both campuses. In addition, the collaboration space in the DSMS B wing is intended to be a shared space. 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.
Q: What changes were made in the wastewater system?
A: The wastewater treatment facility that served DSMS and was located on the southern part of the property has been decommissioned and is being removed. A new line was built connecting the school property to the wastewater system that services the Arrowhead neighborhood.
Q: What renovations take place at DSMS?
A: Dripping Springs Middle School will receive a number of upgrades and improvements as part of this project. Some highlights include: renovated classroom areas for Functional Academics, new collaborative spaces for students, renovated/enlarged teacher lounge and collaboration space, several outdoor improvements in courtyard areas including a shared amphitheater, upgraded lighting in gyms and cafeteria, replacement of portions of the HVAC system, new HVAC and lighting controls, new monument sign, and several electrical/plumbing upgrades. To minimize disruption, most of the renovations will take place during the summer months.
Q: Where will the traffic ingress and egress points be for each school?
A: As part of the design process, Corgan Architects and our traffic engineer have studied the traffic patterns at DSMS and the current WSE to understand the needs for student drop-off and pick-up. The district continues to work out final details with the City, County, and TXDOT, but the current plan involves turning a portion of Tiger Lane into a one-way road (west to east) with a new signal at Tiger Lane/290. Under this plan, the Tiger Lane/290 intersection would be used for exit only. The revised traffic patterns could potentially create additional efficiency/safety with the middle school flow as well as for the new elementary school.
Q: Will there be a traffic signal added to 290 to help facilitate traffic?
A: Following the traffic study, a recommendation was made to place a traffic light at Tiger Lane/290. The district is working closely with TxDOT, the City of Dripping Springs, and Hays County on the overall transportation plan.
Q: How will security be handled when construction personnel are on campus?
A: 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 of 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. Additionally, the district is using the same general contractor (American Constructors) that has been very successful in overseeing the DSHS additions and renovations project that is nearing completion.
Q: Will cost-saving choices be made in the design and construction of Walnut Springs Elementary?
A: Throughout the design and construction process, DSISD and the architects have worked closely with the contractor to identify cost-savings opportunities. Multiple factors contribute to decisions including, price, durability, quality and functionality. DSISD Construction staff, the architect, and general contractor have also met with facility and engineering consultants to review and discuss various infrastructure options for efficiencies. Numerous cost-saving choices have been made both for the initial construction costs as well as long-term life cycle costs.
Q: Will the new Walnut Springs Elementary building “match” the look of Dripping Springs Middle School?
A: The district and its architect team set a goal of making the new building (WSE) and the current building (DSMS) look aesthetically pleasing when viewed together, and extensive efforts have been made throughout the design process to ensure this. They have considered color and material matches, along with an overall architectural style in efforts to accomplish this goal. Typically when building new construction on an existing site, the design focus is not to copy existing buildings, but to compliment them.