For more than two years, Splendora ISD has worked to find a site for the new elementary school called for in the 2016 bond election. The Tram Road site was purchased, but challenges to provide utilities to the site caused the district to seek property in the Splendora Fields area.
The District, developer and City of Splendora could not negotiate an agreement for a secondary access road to FM 2090 to the Splendora Fields site, so the District looked elsewhere. Additional acreage was purchased adjacent to the Tram Road site that has frontage on both Tram and Hill, and Dale Road and is outside of Municipal Utility District 16. Although this gave the District more flexibility in developing the site, utilities are still not available.
“Mayor Leah Tarrant and the City of Patton Village are working diligently to provide utilities to this site and the surrounding areas, and have been phenomenal as a partner to the school district. Land will never be cheaper than it is today, and with Mayor Tarrant’s diligence in getting utilities, we still consider this purchase a good investment,” said Splendora ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeff Burke.
Earlier this year, Harrigan Development Partners, LLC approached Splendora ISD Board of Trustees about their new development, named “Oakmont.” This approximately 400-acre subdivision is located off of Highway 242 near Kropic Road and will include a master-planned community. Splendora ISD Board of Trustees approved the purchase of 15 acres for $262,500 at their Sept. 17 board meeting. The District closed on the property on Friday, Nov. 2.
Further development of the site, which will include utilities, easements, and drainage, has been negotiated with Harrigan at an additional $600,000.
“In comparing the two properties, Oakmont has better access and fewer utility and site challenges, said Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lynch. “This site represents the best use of taxpayer dollars and gives us the best opportunity to open the elementary school in August 2020.”
The planning and design for the new elementary school campus began in July 2016 with the development of conceptual site options. The original schedule for the new elementary school was to commence construction in June of 2017 and open in August 2018, but due to the site challenges encountered, that schedule was pushed back. Below is the new schedule:
- Schedule for new elementary school
- Commence civil engineering and site design: November 2018
- Release for proposals: February 2019 (3 months)
- Receive proposals: March 2019 (1 month)
- Board meeting to approve guaranteed maximum price (GMP): March 18, 2019
- Construction to commence: April 2019 (14 months)
- Water plant completion: anticipated January, 2020
- Substantial completion and move-in: June 2020
- School opening: August 2020
“Once the elementary school’s guaranteed maximum price is determined and we know how much funds remain, the final projects from the 2016 bonds, including high school cafeteria expansion, high school agricultural improvements, and other district-wide improvements, will be considered,” said Burke.
A Citizens Advisory Committee is currently meeting to examine long-term facility challenges related to growth outside of the 2016 bond process.
In the meantime, the District is considering the feasibility and impact of moving specialized programs, including Pre-Kindergarten, Bilingual, and Life Skills, back to their home campuses.
The District is currently looking at timelines, staffing, and student impact of this potential move. Moving these programs back to their home campuses will alleviate overcrowding, specifically at Greenleaf and Piney Woods Elementary Schools. The new elementary school’s location will require the district to consider rezoning, and District officials are already looking at potential scenarios. The District will continue to communicate potential impacts well in advance of any decisions.