Leander ISD’s Early College High School will begin operating out of portables next school year as the Austin Community College San Gabriel Campus reaches capacity, district officials said.

The board of trustees approved over $4 million in capital project interest earnings for additional portables and related infrastructure for ECHS at a Feb. 1 meeting.

What’s happening?

In August, ECHS will move out of the ACC San Gabriel Campus and into 18 portables next to the campus' building, Bond Oversight Committee Chair Jon Lux said at a Feb. 1 meeting.

The move comes as ACC San Gabriel’s enrollment more than doubled since ECHS opened at the campus in 2022, ECHS Principal Clay Currier said. The ACC building has 18 traditional instructional spaces, 13 of which are being used by ECHS, he said.

“We’ve got to shift out because our students are taking more classes, [and] they have more students,” Currier said. “We’re both growing together, which was the original plan.”

Superintendent Bruce Gearing said it was important for students to still be housed at the ACC campus as upperclassmen students will take college classes in the campus’ main building. ECHS will welcome its third class of students with grades nine through eleven for the 2024-25 school year.

The cost

The ECHS portables will cost the district over $7 million, according to district documents. The district allocated around $3 million for the portables through its 2023 bond but required the additional $4 million in funding as it did not anticipate needing portables for all ECHS students, Chief Operations Officer Jimmy Disler said.

What they’re saying

“We have a really strong partnership with ACC at San Gabriel,” Gearing said. “We’re really excited to continue to work with them on this project as we go forward. They’re allowing us, along with the city of Leander, to put that portable city out there to house all of our kids.”

Looking ahead

This fall, the district will begin designing a permanent facility for ECHS at the ACC San Gabriel Campus using $3.9 million in 2023 bond funds, Disler said.

The district would need to acquire additional funds through a future bond election to construct the school, according to the district’s website.