Frisco ISD Planning for Future

In School News by FOL Editor

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Although FISD is getting a bit of a break from opening schools in 2011, the need to plan and study growth in the district never stops.

At a short meeting on Tuesday, October 4, the Administration and Board discussed short and long-term implications of growth as it relates to future schools and zoning considerations.

As students returned to school this year, a slight change in growth patterns was noted. As the students are aging forward in FISD, it appears for the next five-seven years that the higher increases in population will be at the secondary level.

The most immediate need for a secondary school in FISD is to relieve Fowler Middle School. FISD opened three middle schools this year for a total of 12. Fowler Middle school is now the largest middle school with 1,074 students. In recent years, FISD has capped middle school enrollment at 1,125 students, which may be the case at Fowler next year. New students moving in could temporarily be sent to another middle school during that time.

FISD administrators will bring an agenda item to the Board at the October 11 school board meeting to consider moving forward with plans to open a 13th middle school in 2012 to relieve Fowler and also Scoggins, which is projected to exceed the cap in 2013. Richard Wilkinson, Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations, will be seeking authorization to look at changing the location of a currently owned parcel of land or purchasing land in an area north of SH 121. After a site is determined, bid documents will be drafted and issued, with the hopes of awarding a contract in January and the project beginning no later than March. The process for determining the zone for this school will begin in the fall of 2011, with a draft option going to the Board for discussion in November, an opportunity for citizen input on the option taking place in December, and a final decision being made in January.

In looking at current FISD students and aging them forward, it appears that a 7th high school will be needed in 2014 in the northeast quadrant of the district to primarily relieve Liberty and some of Heritage and Centennial. A decision will need to be made in the early fall of 2011 in order to move forward with the design of the building. A zone for this school would be determined in the fall of 2013. FISD currently has six high schools – Frisco High was the first, Centennial opened in 2003, Wakeland and Liberty opened in 2006, Heritage opened in 2009 and Lone Star opened this year. This will allow a bit more time between high schools to determine the best zone. An 8th high school will most likely be needed in the southwest quadrant of the district in 2016. This decision will need to be made in 2013-2014. This high school will relieve Frisco High and possibly Wakeland. High school additions will still be part of the long-range plan to increase the capacity to 2,000-2,100 as needed. Questions regarding processes and timelines for rezoning can be directed to Dennis Brent and Rick Cohagan at 469-633-6000.

A part of this special meeting was also the annual review of contracted services. The Board discussed their assessment of architectural, financial, legal, auditing and demographic services. The Board and Administration are pleased with all of the firms that currently work with the district. As they look at the future construction needs of the district, they would like to consider allowing the architectural firms to switch out some of their design focus. Corgan Associates has been designing middle schools and elementary schools, with Centennial being the only high school they have designed. SHW Group Architects has been designing high school and special use facilities.

The Board and Administration concluded the evening with a three-hour team building session that included a review of board operating guidelines, the zoning guidelines, and discussion of the focus on college readiness and 21st century learning skills.

By FOL Editor

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