The Building Programs department of the Alvin Independent School District (AISD) will remain busy for the foreseeable future as the Board of Trustees authorized funding of on-going projects and approved a contract form for a new elementary school.
Funds dedicated for the Shadow Creek High School were just under $69 million and will complete the scope of work outlined in the originally accepted construction documents and specifications for the campus that will serve the west side of the district. The work will include the building shell, interior and exterior building finishes, and final site amenities. The contract is a construction manager at risk agreement which means the district is guaranteed a price not to exceed the total allocated amount of $90,270,002. The total amount includes previous authorized contract amendments that funded site and civil work in the amount $7,037,956 and structural steel and concrete work in the amount of $14,237,334. Both of the previously authorized contract amendments are well in progress. The guaranteed price is within the budgeted construction dollars allowed for in the November 2013 bond referendum. Jeffery Couvillion, AISD’s director of building programs, told the board that “approval of the final package and the issuance of the final permit by the City of Pearland will continue to maintain the original scheduled completion for the summer of 2016.”
The new high school will be located just south and west of the intersection of Broadway and Kirby in the Pearland city limits. The campus consists of 72 acres and will accommodate 2500 students with a full complement of performing arts and athletic facilities consistent with the districts other high schools. The new facility is needed to provide relief to Manvel High School which has exceeded its design capacity of 2500 students. Significant residential development along the Texas 288 corridor from Pearland and points south have made AISD one of the fastest growing school districts in the state. Growth over the last five years has averaged over 700 students and that number is expected to increase to nearly 900 students by 2017. Total student enrollment approximated 19,000 last school year and is expected to surpass 23,000 by the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
The Board also authorized the district’s Building Programs department to use the construction manager at risk contract delivery method for the construction of a 16th elementary school that will open at the same time as the new high school in the summer of 2016. The site of the new elementary school has not been made public as contract negotiations are ongoing. But according to Daniel Combs, the district’s director of communications, the school will be located in the high growth area of the district, likely in the area between County Road 58 and Broadway and west of state highway 288. Approval of the funding and award of the contract will be brought before the board at a future meeting.
Just completed and ready for occupancy beginning this school year is the new Duke Elementary located on the south side of county road 59 just east of Kirby. The school sits between the Southfork and Southgate subdivisions. The school will ease crowding at nearby elementary schools that have been using portable buildings to meet the ever increasing student enrollment. Erection of the facility began in March 2013 and construction was fast-tracked to be ready for occupancy is little more than one year. The Duke campus cost $17,380,000 and utilizes 13.5 acres in a compact two-story design. AISD elementary school designs provide capacity for 800 students.
Also progressing well is the new Manvel Junior High School that is being constructed on 25 acres of land just north of Manvel High School on McCoy Road and state highway 6. As is the case of district high schools and elementary schools, junior high schools are also being stressed with enrollments above their designed capacity. Recent demographic reports indicate the District will experience a considerable deficit of seats at the Junior High level in coming years with the need primarily on the west side of the District. The new facility will serve to relieve that deficit in serving Manvel and surrounding areas. Manvel’s original junior high school was closed by the district and a new junior high school was opened in the city’s Rodeo Palms subdivision in August 2012. The campus exceeded its capacity in its second year of operation and other west side facilities are utilizing portable buildings to meet the increasing enrollments.
The new Manvel junior high began construction in March 2014 and like Duke Elementary, construction work is on a fast-track to have the campus ready to receive students in August 2015. To meet the aggressive timeline, AISD’s Board authorized the use of the land already owned by the district behind Manvel High School. District officials believe the two campuses located adjacent to one another creates synergy and student/family benefits. Both schools will have the full complement of stand-alone facilities that other district campuses enjoy. Also helping meet the schedule, the property allowed for the same design used in recent junior high facilities, including the new Rodeo Palms campus. Utilizing the same design with only slight modification not only allows the timeline to be met but also serves to save funds that otherwise would be required for design services. A key to meeting the August 2015 date was the Board’s approval of more than $1 million in June 2013 so that partial architectural services and other pre-construction processes could begin before the bond was approved by voters in November.
AISD voters approved a bond referendum in November 2013 that is funding the projects. A total of $252.6 million in expenditures was approved with $212.4 million to be issued as bond indebtedness and $40.15 million coming from a combination of previously approved bond issues, district cash reserves, and current operating funds. With enrollment growth expected of 900 students each year it is expected the district will appoint a facilities review committee next year to consider another bond election in 2015.