MIDLOTHIAN

Work is moving forward on two new campuses that will shape the future of Midlothian ISD. The new JR Irvin Elementary School is set to open for the 2019 school year, and the district’s third middle school is looking to open in 2020.

Funding for both new campuses comes from the 2016 bonds approved by voters by a margin of 58 percent. This portion of the bonds totaled $208 million for the two schools along with additions to Heritage High School, renovations and repurposing of existing facilities, and upgrades to create 21st-century learning spaces at all campuses.

“We are in the design development phase at Irvin Elementary. We are (also) in the bid document phase and we are going to have all of that finalized this month of March coming up. We should see dirt moving over there in April for the new elementary,” said Courtney Carpenter, director of instructional support. “For middle school three, we are in the schematic design process and moving into design development. We should be approving design and development at the next (school) board meeting.”

The new JR Irvin Elementary School will be 92,000 square feet and located at 600 S. 5th Street. The last new elementary school that opened was Dolores W. McClatchey for 2016-17 school year.

“We are excited about the future construction of these two schools, MISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter stated previously. “The 63-year old JR Irvin Elementary School will be rebuilt and have the capacity to serve up to 750 students. This will assist with the growth by adding almost 400 seats and align the campus with all other MISD elementary schools.”

The existing JR Irvin campus will be used as a daycare center and alternative learning center. The use of the alternative learning center has not been defined and will be determined by a committee in the near future.

The Midlothian ISD website states that construction on the new middle school is likely to begin by the end of this year with a capacity for 1,200 students. It will be located near Larue Miller Elementary School at 2800 Sudith Lane. The last middle school that was built by the district was Walnut Grove, which opened in 2005.

Carpenter stated the district has included staff members, community members, and students in the design process. These ideas have been incorporated into the buildings. One such idea was to have flexible furniture so that a room could be converted quickly to create a new learning space based on what was needed.

The architect on the project is Huckabee Inc. Its website shows other projects that include Lake Creek High School for Montgomery ISD, Cannon Elementary School for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, and the Capt. Mark Tyler Voss Middle School for Boerne ISD. Some of the services offered by Huckabee include architectural design, interior design, structural engineering, and cost estimating.

Both schools will have anticipated lifespans of 50 years. When opened, each school will not be at capacity, as they are planned to accommodate growth that is taking place across the district.

“We have a demographer that comes and provides us with quarterly updates. Right now, all we see is growth for the next three to five years,” Carpenter said. “We have growth pushing out from the city. We have out of state growth coming in. So it is kind of all over the place. It is not in a specific concentrated area.”

Carpenter continued, stating the district is growing at about 500 students each school year, which is equivalent to a new school every two years.

Ledbetter stated in a previous article that the third middle school would help the district “accommodate increasing enrollment.” He noted that based on conservative enrollment projections, the district expects to serve more than 10,500 students by the 2026-27 school year.

OTHER UPGRADES

When voters approved the 2016 bond, they also gave the go-ahead for about $38 million in upgrades to the district’s athletics and sports fields. These upgrades include the construction of the Midlothian High School fieldhouse, renovation of the middle school competition fields, the addition of offices at Midlothian ISD Multi-Purpose Stadium, and the repurposing of Don Floyd Stadium.

At the Jan. 15 school board meeting the board unanimously approved the design and development for a new Midlothian High School baseball, softball, and tennis complex that will be located on the site of Don Floyd Stadium. The design for the Don Floyd Athletic Complex will feature fields with turf, eight tennis courts, a field house with concession stands, a pedestrian plaza and canopies throughout. Stadium seats will feature awnings. The cost for the complex is estimated at $11.3 million with bids anticipated going out in April with project completion set for January 2019.

The third part of the 2016 bond is for $22 million in technology, security, and capital needs. Some of the items include technology infrastructure and upgrades, student and staff security improvements, mechanical equipment replacements, roof replacements, and classroom technology.

The district's bond oversight committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. March 5 at the administrative building located at 100 Walter Stephenson Road in Midlothian Road.

People who have questions about the project can contact district staff at 972-775-8296.