Leander ISD is making progress toward opening its first early childhood center for prekindergarten students.

District officials revealed the schematic design for the new facility opening in 2026 at a June 27 board of trustees meeting after receiving community input.

The big picture

The 100,000-square-foot early childhood center—located at the intersection of San Gabriel Parkway and Halsey Drive—is expected to serve a capacity of around 600 3- and 4-year-old prekindergarten students, according to district information.

The preliminary design features five learning pods where children may enjoy literacy areas, free play stations and meals, O’Connell Robertson Architect Casey Nicholson said. The layout includes 70,000 square feet of outdoor play areas between learning pods, which may include gardens, trike tracks, covered porches, and nature, turf and free play areas.

The center could have a gym, administrative offices, and community resource spaces connected to a media center.

Additionally, the center may have a separate space for its Parents as Teachers program for parents of children ages 5 and under and a child development center offering child care to children 6 months and up, LISD Director of Early Childhood Erin Garner said.

The backstory

The LISD board of trustees approved opening a $60 million early childhood center using 2023 bond funds in October. The district’s Long-Range Planning Committee recommended opening the facility to relieve capacity at northern elementary schools.

LISD provided services to more than 1,000 prekindergarten students across 18 of its elementary campuses last school year.

This spring, the district held a collaborative planning process with over 75 staff members, parents and community members to conceptualize the early childhood center’s design, Garner said.

Participants wanted to see the following features at the center:
  • Play-based learning
  • Nature-based play
  • Social emotional learning
  • Student-centered learning
  • Family support
  • Inclusive practices for students of all abilities and languages
  • Socialization
  • Focus on teaching strategies
Next steps

Representatives working on the project will further develop the design in October with construction expected to begin in March 2025, according to district documents. The center is set to open in August 2026.