EDUCATION

Leander ISD eyes Larkspur subdivision for new elementary school

The district's 27th elementary school would provide relief for the increasingly crowded Plain Elementary

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After LISD’s $454.4 million bond was approved by voters Nov. 7, district officials are considering plans for a new elementary school in the rapidly growing, northernmost area of the district.

The LISD Board of Trustees considered the Larkspur subdivision in Liberty Hill as the site for the district’s 27th elementary school at their Nov. 16 meeting. The location for the new school, slated to open in August 2019, came with the district’s annual demographer's report, which provided growth projections throughout the next decade.

The land for the school is already owned by the school district, said District Spokesperson, Corey Ryan.

Trustees will discuss the final selection of the site, its boundary process and construction timelines at their Dec. 7 meeting.

“We need to be moving very quickly so we can meet the timeline that’s outlined in this report,” said LISD Superintendent Dan Troxell.

The Larkspur school should relieve overcrowding at Plain Elementary School in Leander.

Demographers estimate there will be 1,084 students in the Plain Elementary attendance zone in Oct. 2018. Addressing the overcrowding of the school is the first priority in the district’s long term plan, said Stacey Tepera, data manager for Population and Survey Analysts, or PASA.

“The acceleration of population in Larkspur we’ve seen has been remarkable,” Tepera said. “In September, there were 97 homes under construction in the subdivision.”

The school in Larkspur may potentially serve nearby subdivisions such as Summerlyn West, Bryson, Orchard Ridge, said Pat Guseman, chief demographer for PASA.

To save approximately $300,000, the district will be following designs that closely resemble Akin Elementary, with a few tweaks, district officials said. 

“When we project growth, we have to define a geographic area and say we project this many students to live in this area and this is how it might relate to the capacity of a school,” Tepera said. “However, no decisions have been made about any attendance zones, and no decisions have been made about where your child will go to school.”

Five schools in four years

Based on moderate growth projections, LISD expects to continue adding more than 1,000 new students per year for the next 10 years. The rapid growth raises the possibility of needing five new schools in four years between 2019 and 2023.

According to the annual demographer’s report, home builders have built on 73 percent of the district’s available land for new single-family and multi-family units. This does not include an expected 45,889 new units between now and 2027.

“Elementary school No. 28 could be fully utilized in 2020 as we get closer on,” Tepera said.

Estimated growth will be highest in the northern part of the district and along the Ronald Reagan Boulevard corridor between Journey Boulevard and FM 2243.

“We’re grateful LISD got its bond passed,” Guseman said. “Because you’re going to see that growth marching forward and it will be important to have the monies to accommodate this growth.”

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