Leander ISD construction, renovations may be delayed in wake of coronavirus

Leander ISD officials said March 26 that construction and renovations at Vandegrift High School (pictured) may not be completed by August as scheduled. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Leander ISD officials said March 26 that construction and renovations at Vandegrift High School (pictured) may not be completed by August as scheduled. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Leander ISD officials said March 26 that construction and renovations at Vandegrift High School (pictured) may not be completed by August as scheduled. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Concerns over coronavirus are causing facilities that manufacture construction materials to close, according to a Leander ISD official, and as a result, Leander ISD’s constant school construction and renovations to meet growing enrollment may be affected.

Eighteen construction projects are planned for the summer, according to Jimmy Disler, LISD chief facilities and operations officer.

At the LISD board of trustees regular meeting March 26, Disler told the board that the new Danielson Middle School will still open in time for the 2020-21 school year, but massive renovations at Vandegrift High School might be affected.

“Danielson will be completed on time,” Disler told the board during the online meeting. “Vandegrift is a tight one.”

The $454.4 million school bond voters approved in 2017 earmarked $29,548,592 for “additions/renovations to increase capacity” at Vandegrift High School, according to LISD documents.


Current construction plans at VHS call for additional classroom space, renovations of existing classrooms and security upgrades. A new, $3 million agricultural facility is also scheduled to be built.

Disler said that manufacturers of construction supplies, from sawmills to foundries, are shutting down and reducing the amount of available supplies. In the short term, Disler said most supplies have already been ordered.

“It’s a race to get product. No doubt,” he said.

Even if LISD is able to purchase the supplies, Disler said coronavirus concerns may also affect available labor.

“And then, there’s the subcontractors. If they stop showing up, that’s another issue we’re going to have to deal with,” he said.

Disler said the board may have to dial back LISD’s summer construction schedule.

“We’ll probably have to make a decision by early May,” he said. “We may have to revise scope of what is planned.”
By Brian Perdue
Brian Perdue is the editor of the Lake Travis-Westlake and Northwest Austin editions of Community Impact Newspaper. A native of Virginia's Appalachian Mountains, he has been a journalist since 1992, living and working in Virginia, Washington D.C., Hawaii's Big Island, Southern California and Florida before moving to Austin in 2019.


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