Huckabee | Architecture | Engineering | Management

Officials with The Howard Hughes Corp. announced Dec. 7 Waller ISD has purchased a 19-acre parcel of land in Bridgeland for its second elementary school in the master-planned community.   The school will be located at Conservation Crossing and Hilltopping Drive within Prairieland Village and serve 850 students, according to a news release. view article arw

On Dec. 2, Sabinal Independent School District board members, students, staff, and administrators gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the school’s planned event center, a multi-purpose facility, encompassing an 800-seat gymnasium, concessions, and restrooms. The group convened at the building site between the existing gym and track, and the band performed as the board members broke ground. In May of 2021, approximately 70 percent of voters favored a $6.9 million bond to fund the construction of the building, which will compliment the recently completed track and field complex and newly renovated tennis complex, which were paid for out of local funds. view article arw

Election night felt like déjà vu for the Canutillo Independent School District’s superintendent: For the second time in a year, the two bond proposals on the ballot were failing by margins of more than 20 percentage points. The proposals, which totaled $264.1 million, would have funded renovations across its 10 campuses and allowed the district of 6,000 students to refinance debt it took out to support remote learning. view article arw

Abilene ISD school board members are continuing their discussion about reconfiguring the number of campuses, and for the first time, the idea of having three high schools was in the mix. At the workshop ahead of Monday night’s board meeting, Abilene ISD staff said they are going to make what they’re calling a “soft recommendation” for the district to have 10 elementary campuses, 3 intermediate campuses, and 3 middle schools. view article arw

Under the state’s Permanent School Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program, schools get the best interest rate on bonds. That soon may be over if the federal government doesn’t act.  A state-backed program that for decades has helped school districts get the lowest interest rates possible on bonds is about to reach its limit — and if it does, districts might find themselves having to ask for more money from taxpayers. The Permanent School Fund is a state endowment of about $56 billion funded through investments and land holdings. It was created in 1854 to give Texas’ public schools another form of revenue other than tax dollars. Through its bond guarantee program, when a school district passes a bond package, the PSF promises lenders who buy the bonds that the state will pay them back if the school district can’t. Having the PSF as a guarantor helps school districts get the best interest rates on those bonds. But the PSF’s guarantee program has a limit on how much debt it can cover at any given time. The IRS, which has jurisdiction over tax-exempt municipal bonds, has set that limit at about $117 billion. As of Oct. 31, the program only has about $652.6 million left in capacity before the program shuts down, according to the latest state projections. That’s down from $3 billion at the end of September.    (5) view article arw

During a town hall meeting Wednesday night, Jerry Hollingsworth briefly quizzed the audience about the location of Dunaway Elementary. “Is Dunaway way up north or way down south?” the Waxahachie ISD superintendent asked. “Way down south, right?” Trick question. “Nope, Dunaway is way down in the middle,” he said. Hollingsworth said the perception is the district’s southern boundary is near Dunaway. But he said the school is actually more in the central part of the district when considering how much more land within WISD there is to be developed. “We are going to grow for a very long time because we have a lot of property and room in which to grow,” he said. During the town hall meeting Hollingsworth discussed the large enrollment growth WISD is projecting, as well as the plans to address it. That includes a tentative plan to build a second comprehensive high school and three new elementary schools. And a decision on how to progress may come in the next few days. view article arw

Midway Independent School District is entering the last phase of a $148 million slate of voter-approved bond projects and expects to have $3.3 million left over when everything is complete in August. The bond approved in 2019 funded the new Park Hill Elementary School and renovations and expansions at Midway High School, Midway Middle School, Woodway Elementary School and the schools now known as River Valley Middle School and Chapel Park Elementary School. The work, designed to accommodate the district’s rapid enrollment growth, also came with a redrawing of attendance zones and a shift away from intermediate schools. Elementary schools took in the intermediate schools’ fifth graders, and middle schools took in sixth graders. view article arw

CARTHAGE — Carthage ISD trustees this past week got a preliminary look at a proposed $39.2 million bond proposition that could come up before voters in the spring. The draft proposal includes the second phase of the baseball/softball complex, renovations at Baker-Koonce Intermediate School and other maintenance and technology upgrades. Superintendent Jarrod Bitter noted at the beginning of the meeting that the board had previously discussed needed renovations and what it might want to include in a May 2023 bond package. view article arw

On the heels of opening the doors to a brand new middle school, Celina ISD is looking ahead to completing construction on its third elementary school in a number of months. A stone’s throw from Jerry and Linda Moore Middle School at the corner of Louisiana Drive and E G. A. Moore Parkway, there sits a campus of steel, brick and other materials that has been coming together since ground broke on the site on March 1, 2022. Celina ISD Elementary School No. 3 is slated to be completed in May with expectations to open to students for the 2023-24 school year. As of now, site utilities have been installed, site parking lots and fire lane paving is done, structural steel has been put in place and most of the plumbing, HVAC and electrical work is done, said John O’Connor of Northstar Builders Group. As of now, the site is in the “dry-in” phase of construction, and exterior framing is almost done. Exterior facade work is underway — including brick, windows and roofing — and interior walls are being framed with drywall installation set to start soon. view article arw

SOUTHEAST TEXAS — The state's education system suffers from an image problem. There are a lot of good things happening in Texas schools, but often, they aren't making headlines. Angel San Juan tells us in this week's Crisis in the Classroom report, one group is on a mission to show us why public schools work. view article arw

JARRELL, Texas (KXAN) — The Jarrell Independent School District said structure problems lead to the tearing down of its ‘1916 Building’ which once served as the city’s high school. Renovation and preservation of the building was approved by voters in a May 2021 bond election, but now that the building is gone, some said they would have voted differently if they knew demolition was a possibility. Citizens took to social media to share their outrage at finding out the building had been torn down. view article arw

The Carthage ISD school board will host a special facilities discussion and bond planning meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1 at noon at the administration building. Thursday’s public agenda only includes the facilities discussion and an executive session where trustees may discuss personnel, real estate and consultation with attorney. The school board had previously discussed the need for a potential bond next spring at their September meeting. In addition to hosting a discussion on the district’s facilities, the board also approved hiring Corgan Architect for bond planning and design at a cost of $95,250. view article arw

River Road Independent School District (RRISD) presented its new, state-of-the-art weight lifting facility Tuesday afternoon on its high school campus. The new center was commemorated with a ribbon cutting presented by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. view article arw

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Austin Independent School District (ISD), Texas' Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and unlimited tax (ULT) bonds as follows: --Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AA+'; --Approximately $1.57 billion in outstanding ULT bonds at 'AA+' (underlying rating). The Rating Outlook is Negative. view article arw

EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A groundbreaking ceremony for the UTRGV Edinburg CISD Collegiate High School is being planned for the week after Thanksgiving. Groundbreaking will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive where the 85,000 square-foot-state-of-the-art facility will be constructed. PSJA North and Brownsville Veterans excited for third round game in RGV Earlier in the year, the university and the school district partnered in this educational opportunity to help students with a more consistent transition from high school to college. Classes started in August for the Collegiate High School with over 200 students taking courses in temporary portable buildings. view article arw

WINNSBORO, Texas — A new type of class is coming to Winnsboro ISD. According to the district, board members recently approved a quote of about $3.5 million to begin construction on the Winnsboro ISD Meat Lab. "Once construction is complete, Winnsboro ISD will begin offering meat processing classes in the state-of-the art facility," the district said. "The facility will allow students to learn different aspects of agriculture and skills that they can utilize after they graduate high school." view article arw

Denton ISD leaders and the City Council and staff worked through a stacked agenda Tuesday morning, but it was the final report that promises payoff for students and the neighborhoods surrounding selected campuses.  Among the upcoming projects was a nugget that could put LaGrone Academy students to work for the sorts of things locals — and tourists — see as they make their way around town.“We had a meeting out there a couple of weeks ago, and I really didn’t understand the magnitude of opportunities, whether it’s future employees, artwork, welding projects that needed organization and maintenance, or just better signage for the park system. We had a joint meeting that was fantastic. They cranked it up really fast,” Denton Parks and Recreation Director Gary Packan told the school and city leaders assembled for the meeting.  Packan said his department discovered that the school district’s vocational-technological complex, which is now a school of choice (meaning it accepts high school students from outside of Denton ISD), has both the technology and the talent to put students to work. view article arw

Tomball ISD’s elementary, intermediate and high school campuses at the Juergen Road complex will be named West Elementary, West Intermediate and Tomball West High School following unanimous approvals by the school board members at its Nov. 15 meeting. During discussion, Trustee Michael Pratt said the district launched a ThoughtExchange in August to get the public’s input on the names. view article arw

A Royal ISD facilities advisory committee Nov. 17 recommended $144 million worth of projects to be included in a May 2023 bond election.  Committee members, meanwhile, are set to hold their final meeting Dec. 8. At that meeting, committee members will select two people to present the committee’s recommendations to the board. Trustees will review and approve, or reject, the bond package for placement on the May ballot. view article arw

The Holliday ISD School Board listened to a bond proposal from the district’s facilities committee and a facilities financial workshop from Doug Whitt of Samco Capital during its board meeting on Monday, Nov. 14. Kim Yandell was selected to be the spokesperson for the facilities committee during the board meeting. The group had Templeton Demographics come in to do a demographic study as it… view article arw

College Station ISD school board members come out of executive session at the end of their November meeting to make the motion and approve a land purchase of nearly $4 million dollars. Nothing else was said by board members or administrators about the purchase of 60 acres along Arrington Road between Indian Lakes Drive and Wyndham Ranch Road. This property is located to 40 acres that the district currently owns. According to a memo given to the school board, the exact use for this land has not been determined. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — For the first time, AISD provided a tour of their Performing Arts Center to celebrate artists in Austin. Throughout this weekend, from noon to 6, the department showed students and staff artwork from all over the district. Austin ISD participated to help the artists put their work out there for the public to view and enjoy. Visual Arts Instructional Coordinator Paul Kretchmer said the community feels like allowing the world to see more of the inner workings of the students and their artwork. view article arw

The new Hallsville ISD West Elementary School inside the Longview city limits is set to welcome students in January. Shannon Greiner, Project Manager for WRL General Contractors, provided a construction update during a recent Hallsville ISD board meeting. Greiner told the board that buses and cars would be dropping off children at the school in January. view article arw

UVALDE — The Uvalde school district now has an interim chief of police and a location for a new school to replace Robb Elementary. Josh Gutierrez, who has worked in law enforcement and as an educator, will take charge of a handful of school district officers hired since the May 24 massacre of 19 students and two teachers at Robb, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District board decided late Wednesday. Five campus officers who were part of the botched law enforcement response to the shooting have been assigned other duties pending the outcome of an investigation into their performance by an outside firm hired by the district in October. view article arw

Tomball ISD announced the names for its three future schools currently under construction in the new Juergen Road Complex. After the district collected stakeholders’ input in the school naming process, the board of trustees approved the names West Elementary, West Intermediate and Tomball West High School during the Nov. 15 meeting. view article arw

Katy ISD continues to top the list of 15 Greater Houston-area school districts in student population growth, with 12, 940 new students since 2016, according to a presentation at the Nov. 14 trustees meeting. The rate represents a 14.6% change in enrollment over the past five years, according to the presentation. “Over the next 10 years, PASA projects 27,681 single-family units for Katy ISD, which is approximately 60 percent of new housing projections for the district,” Kris Pool, a Population and Survey Analysts (PASA) demographer, said. “These occupancies are predominately in the northwest quadrant of the district where master-planned communities are projected for development through 2023.” Additionally, over 17,000 multi-family occupancies are projected through 2032. To address the rapid growth taking place in the northwest quadrant of Katy ISD, demographers recommend additional elementary, junior high, and high schools in that area of the district. Katy ISD has worked closely with PASA for several years to determine current and future student enrollment projections. Growth estimates have aided Katy ISD when addressing overcapacity and campus enrollment. view article arw

UVALDE — Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District trustees named an interim chief of police late Wednesday and approved a location and design for a new school to replace Robb Elementary. Josh Gutierrez will take charge of a handful of school district officers hired since the May 24 massacre of 19 students and two teachers at Robb. Five campus officers who were part of the botched law enforcement response to the shooting have been assigned other duties pending the outcome of an investigation into their performance by an outside firm hired by the district in October.  The meeting, the first since interim superintendent Gary Patterson started the job, ran smoothly. The audience of 50 people included many members of the Uvalde CISD Community Advisory Committee, the group tasked with picking a location and conceptual design for the new elementary school.  The proposed site is next to Dalton Elementary School off Leona Road. Committee members said it had the fewest downsides of the three possible sites they considered. view article arw

SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) — The Sherman Independent School District's Long Range Facilities Planning Committee brought a list of proposals to the district's Board of Trustees. Many items on that list cover renovations of facilities along with some additions, including a new elementary school that would be ready for students in the fall of 2025. The committee also recommends replacing Fairview and Crutchfield elementary schools, citing concerns about aging facilities. "Half of our facilities — particularly at the elementary level — average at an age of 73 years," said Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett. "The life expectancy of a school is around 50 years." The committee is working to put a plan in place to accommodate the city's projected growth. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As home prices continue to increase and new companies pop up around Austin, some families are looking outside the city to put down roots. That means some surrounding areas like Del Valle ISD are seeing significant growth, and for the school district, that means more schools. “When you are driving down Braker Lane, you are going to see this beautiful school,” said Del Valle ISD Superintendent Annette Tielle. “You are going to see it in the middle of a beautiful development.” The district approved the purchase of 149 acres of land which will be the home of not only a second high school but other campuses as well. The purchase was approved in May by voters as part of the district’s 2022 bond program. Election: Del Valle voters approve $300 million bond for new high school, land The land is divided into two parcels, both in the Whisper Valley neighborhood on the north side of the district. The first parcel is a 78.1-acre plot near the intersection of Braker Lane and Taylor Lane. The second site of land, which is 71.1 acres, will serve as the site for a future elementary and middle school. The 149.2 acres were purchased for $167,785 per acre.    (17) view article arw

Voters pass $71M Lockhart ISD bond

November 1608:30 AM

LOCKHART, Texas — More than 61% of voters chose to approve the $71 million Lockhart ISD bond on Tuesday's ballot, according to a report from the Lockhart Post Register newspaper. The Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, failed by 19 votes. However, the paper notes the VATRE could change once all of the mail-in votes are counted. The paper also notes the results are unofficial until certified, and Texas election officials have from eight to 14 days to do so. A special meeting will be held on Nov. 14 to canvas the votes. On Aug. 15, 2022, Lockhart ISD said its Board of Trustees called for a $71 million bond election with no school tax rate increase and a Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, for November 2022. view article arw

G-P ISD Superintendent Michelle Cavazos said there were a number of improvements that were in the defeated bond, such as a total rebuild of T.M. Clark Elementary.  CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — School administrators at Gregory-Portland Independent School Department were disappointed as their $242 million bond package failed to pass Tuesday night. But how did that million dollar bond package fail?   G-P ISD Superintendent Michelle Cavazos said there's a lot of options on the table right now on what to do after the bond was defeated. One option is to call another bond election as early as next May . view article arw

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — There was tension Monday night in Dripping Springs after school board members held their first meeting since the district’s $481 million bond package failed on Election Day. The money would have gone to improvements. Voters decide not to pass 3 bonds for Dripping Springs ISD Lauren Naylor, a former middle school teacher who has two elementary students in the district, told the board she was “absolutely crushed and devastated.” She worried the ratio of students to teachers would increase, causing more teachers to leave the district. That thought, she said, “made [her] heart drop into [her] stomach, literally.” “My heart is heavy today, because I feel like this was a blow to the district,” said another voter during Monday’s public hearing. “I feel bad for the staff of our schools, I feel bad for the families of our kids.” Some families pointed the finger at school board members.    (14) view article arw

Rio Vista voters approved a $12 million bond that will fund major facilities and equipment upgrades. The bond passed with 427 votes over 311. About $9 million of the bond will be spent on Rio Vista Elementary School to remodel and add 15 classrooms. It will also be used to improve security on campus and build a storm shelter/gym. The cafeteria will be expanded for 200 additional students and a new playground will be installed. view article arw

In hopes to meet new needs and make changes to campuses, Winona ISD held its $23.5 million school bond election last week. It was presented to voters as three separate propositions, and only one passed, proposition A, which totaled at $13.4 million. Renovations will soon be made to the elementary classrooms and the elementary and middle school cafeterias. The kitchen will also expand and safety upgrades will be made to the playground. view article arw

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — Voters in Drippings Springs Independent School District voted not to approve any of the school district’s three bonds, which would’ve allotted about $481 million for improvements and new facilities. Dripping Springs ISD bond focuses on new facilities for growing area Prop A came the closest to passing, but more than 51% of voters said “no.” The $199.28 million would’ve built a new elementary school, helped expand Sycamore Springs Middle School, and provided new school buses. 9,494 voted for it and 10,167 voted against. Nearly 54% of voters voted against Prop B, which would’ve been $275.35 million for a new high school. 9,073 voters were for it and 10,572 were against. Just under 54% of voters were against Prop C, $6.5 million for technology upgrades. 9,103 voted for the prop, and 10,501 voted against. view article arw