STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Anticipating continued growth in the Marble Falls Independent School District, board trustees adopted amendments to the long-range facilities plan at their regular meeting June 17.
Most of the anticipated growth is expected near the US 281-Texas 71 corridor, which could mean a new school in Spicewood in the future. The type of new school — whether it’s another elementary school or a fifth- and sixth-grade campus — is yet to be determined, Superintendent Chris Allen told the board. The plan includes aggressive projected enrollments at all MFISD campuses.
He further noted the plan gives the district a starting point in discussing facilities. Currently, Spicewood Elementary School has the capacity to accept children living in new proposed subdivisions south of the city.
Those subdivisions are:
On 242 acres located south of Texas 71 on the west side of US 281. During seven phases over the next nine years, developers plan to build 707 single-family residential lots and 522 multifamily units. If a financing plan is approved by the city of Marble Falls and bonds are sold this summer, Phase 1 of construction is expected to begin this fall.
LIVE OAK VILLAGE
A 58-acre development near US 281 consisting of 25 acres for commercial and multifamily uses and 33 acres for a planned 150 detached condominiums and small residential lots.
A 1,057-acre mixed-use master planned community proposed for the northwest section of US 281 and Texas 71. This development will include single-family residential, multifamily residential, commercial, mixed-use, and hotel land uses.
A 361-acre mixed-use master planned community to be built east of US 281 and south and east of FM 2147 East. It will include both commercial and residential uses with as many as 460 single-family residential lots and 176 multifamily residential units. This development hasn’t been initiated with the city of Marble Falls.
According to its long-range master plan, which was compiled by a committee of residents, community leaders, and MFISD employees months earlier, the school district should begin planning for capacity relief so that the new school opens when an existing school’s enrollment is expected to reach 120 percent or to be at or above 105 percent for more than four years.
The committee also recognized, according to the master plan, that intervening measures such as redefining attendance zones could be used to manage capacity in lieu of new building construction when new construction does not serve the long-term interest of the students in the district.
School district officials will monitor the sales of homes as the above developments are built. How quickly houses sell and the ages of the children moving into them will help drive what kind of school MFISD builds next.
Only Colt Elementary School in Marble Falls, with a capacity of 689, is projected to be over its limit starting in the 2019-20 school year and into the next four years. Its projection is 701 students in 2019-20; 738 in 2020-21; 778 in 2021-22; 823 in 2022-23; 871 in 2023-24; 916 in 2024-25; and 960 in 2025-26.
Capacity at Marble Falls Middle School looks comfortable for the time being. However, the committee recommended that once the existing campus reaches 1,100 students, the district should begin planning for capacity relief. That’s why the board added that amendment in the motion during the June 17 meeting.
Because of the amount of land between the high school and Colt Elementary School, school officials know they can add more buildings.
“We have the potential to expand Marble Falls High School without having to build a second high school anytime soon,” Allen said.
Marble Falls Elementary, with a program capacity of 714 students, is projected to have 635 students in 2019-20. It isn’t expected to go over 700 students until the 2024-25 school year, when it’s projected to have 718 students.
The only campus able to handle its projections right now is Highland Lakes Elementary School in Granite Shoals. Its capacity is 775, and the campus isn’t expected to go over 700 students until the 2023-24 school year.
Allen said these steps illustrate the school district is being proactive in preparing for the future.
“All the planning says is we’re prepared with advanced thinking,” he said.