Cleveland ISD’s new campus, high school addition on schedule

In this aerial image from May, Cottonwood Elementary is a 130,000 square-foot campus for Cleveland ISD. It is under construction on the 1900 block of CR 3549 in the Grand San Jacinto Subdivision south of Plum Grove.

Construction of the new Cottonwood Elementary and additions to Cleveland High School are nearing completion, according to Cleveland ISD Superintendent Chris Trotter.

“We have about 95 percent of work done at the high school and about 95 percent at Cottonwood Elementary. We should get Cottonwood finished in three to four weeks, and the high school will be ready by mid-July,” said Trotter.

The new 130,000 square-foot elementary school, built on the 1900 block of CR 3549 in the Grand San Jacinto community south of Plum Grove, will be the fourth elementary campus for Cleveland ISD. Northside, Eastside and Southside make up the other three campuses. The principal for Cottonwood Elementary will be Richard Pena.

Cottonwood Elementary

The land where Cottonwood Elementary is built was donated to Cleveland ISD by Colony Ridge developer Trey Harris.

Trotter says the district has been busy hiring the staff needed for the new campus.

“We will have about 90 people with support staff and professional staff at that campus. We are already about 90 percent staffed, which isn’t bad for May 21,” he said.

Bios and photos of the staff will be added to the district’s website,, over the summer.

More employees are being added at the high school where a new wing has been built to address growth in the student population. Trotter predicts that when the new school year starts in August, the high school will have 2,000 students, up from 1,950 at the close of the 2019-2020 school year.

Cottonwood Elementary and the addition at the high school were funded by a $80 million bond that was passed by voters in May 2017. The bond also provided for the creation of a new service center for the district’s auxiliary departments. The bond election included voters in three counties since Cleveland ISD is based in Liberty County but its jurisdiction extends into San Jacinto and Montgomery counties.

In November 2019, voters in Cleveland ISD approved another bond – this time for $198 million – to build two new elementary campuses, a new junior high school in Grand San Jacinto Subdivision near Cottonwood Elementary, and new school buses.

To save on the costs for engineering and designing new campuses, Cleveland ISD is using the footprint and design of Cottonwood Elementary for future elementary campuses. However, some modifications will be made to make the elementary have its own unique appearance.

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