Bond and Facility Update/Elementary #5
May 24, 2019
Progress continues to be made on the 2018 bond program. Complete up-to-date information also is available on the DSISD website at www.dsisdtx.us/bondupdates.
The projects are divided into Phase I and Phase II categories. Phase I projects are: high school additions and renovations; Dripping Springs Elementary renovations and furniture upgrades; Rooster Springs Elementary renovations; replacement of turf surfaces and tracks at DSMS and DSHS; and Transportation Center site and building improvements. Construction on all of these projects with the exception of the Transportation Center will begin immediately when school lets out to maximize use of time when students are not on campus.
Phase II projects are: the Walnut Springs Elementary relocation; construction of Elementary #5 (scroll down for item regarding location); Dripping Springs Middle School renovations; and DSISD Administration relocation. Both elementary schools are expected to be completed in time for the 2021-22 school year.
Over the past month, multiple stakeholder groups have been meeting with architects and DSISD Facility and Construction personnel to share input and discuss the relocation and construction of Walnut Springs Elementary at the Dripping Springs Middle School site. On Tuesday, May 28, two meetings will be held to summarize the input that was received and discuss next steps moving into the design process (8 a.m. in the WSE Center for Learning and Innovation and 6 p.m. in the DSMS Center for Learning and Innovation. Parents from any DSISD school or the community are welcome to attend either meeting.
At the May Board meeting, Superintendent Bruce Gearing also reported to the Board that the district is forming a Bond Oversight Committee. Details regarding the structure and responsibilities of the committee are still being finalized, but the group will likely be formed in the fall.
In addition to progress on the 2018 bond, the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee has been meeting this school year to discuss the future of facilities in DSISD. An overview of that process is available on the Long-Range Facility Planning webpage. The third and final meeting was May 23; video of that meeting is available online as well.
LOCATION OF ELEMENTARY #5
The 2018 bond program included construction of a fifth elementary school in DSISD, for which a specific location had not been determined. The school is scheduled to open in fall of 2021. The bond program included funds for land acquisition, and the district owns two other sites to be used for future schools – one at RR12 at Mt. Gainor Road that was purchased a few years ago and one southeast of the Darden Hill Road/Sawyer Ranch Road intersection that the district has owned for nearly a decade.
Based on population growth trends, it was clear during the planning process that the best location for Elementary #5 would be in the eastern half of the district. The most recent demographic study completed this spring reinforces that preference, as developments such as Belterra, Reunion Ranch, High Pointe, Rim Rock, Parton Ranch and Headwaters are steadily adding new homes.
Based on discussion with the demographer about updated data from the study and the projected timeframe for opening new schools, this week the district has recommended that Elementary #5 be built on the Darden Hill/Sawyer Ranch site. Dr. Gearing shared this information May 23 with the Long-Range Facility Planning Committee.
The district continues to work on land purchase options north of Highway 290 (east of RR12), but has not finalized a purchase.
The Darden Hill/Sawyer Ranch site has 155 acres available, and is slated to eventually have a middle school located there as well. In addition, this site could potentially be used in the future if a community decision is made to build a second high school, and for a second Transportation facility. Therefore, Elementary #5 will be designed in such a way that space will be reserved for future school(s). The topography of the site is relatively flat, which provides flexibility.
Determining the location now allows the architects to begin the process of gathering input that will be incorporated into the building design. The design process will take approximately 10 months, and construction will start in late spring of 2020. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.
Attendance zone discussions and decisions will not occur until the spring of 2021 so that the most accurate and updated student data and demographic projections can be used. Potential plans and options will not be developed until that time.