Despite future state funding concerns, Leander ISD funds first phase of Tarvin Elementary School construction

The Leander ISD board of trustees voted at its April 23 remote meeting to spend a total of $20,407,839 to begin building a new elementary school and to make security and HVAC upgrades. (Screenshot courtesy Leander ISD)
The Leander ISD board of trustees voted at its April 23 remote meeting to spend a total of $20,407,839 to begin building a new elementary school and to make security and HVAC upgrades. (Screenshot courtesy Leander ISD)

The Leander ISD board of trustees voted at its April 23 remote meeting to spend a total of $20,407,839 to begin building a new elementary school and to make security and HVAC upgrades. (Screenshot courtesy Leander ISD)

The Leander ISD board of trustees voted at its April 23 remote meeting to spend a total of $20,407,839 to begin building a new elementary school and to make security and HVAC upgrades.

The biggest portion of the money, $11,142,202, will fund the first phase of construction for Tarvin Elementary School. Set to open in August 2021, Tarvin will help relieve overcrowding at the nearby Parkside Elementary School and address enrollment increases from the Palmero Ridge housing development, according to LISD.

Elexis Grimes, the only trustee to vote against Tarvin’s funding, and President Trish Bode expressed concerns about coronavirus effects on new home construction. Both pointed to Reed Elementary School, which is at approximately 50% capacity, according to LISD.

Jimmy Disler, LISD’s chief facilities and operations officer, said he contacted large residential developers in the district who said they did not expect a significant drop in new home sales.

Disler said delaying Tarvin’s construction would cost an additional $2 million per year. He added that elementary schools well under capacity will be hosting pre-K instruction, which is expanding from half-day to full-day instruction in August.


Grimes said future cuts in state funding will probably happen due to the steep drop in oil prices.

“The cuts are coming. The money’s not going to flow,” Grimes said.

The next sum, $6,460,189, will replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, at Steiner Ranch Elementary School.

The remainder of the total, $2,805,448, will be used to complete security upgrades to Glenn High School, Rouse High School, Leander Extended Opportunity and New Hope High School.

Trustees unanimously approved funding for Steiner Ranch and security upgrades.

All three totals are a guaranteed maximum price, or GMP, meaning each total is the maximum that can be spent on the project. Past LISD construction projects typically end up costing less than their designated GMPs, according to LISD documents.

All three projects are being funded through the $454.4 million school bond that voters approved in 2017.
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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