Leander ISD begins process of bringing security upgrades to last 10 schools

Leander ISD’s board of trustees took the next step to bring major security enhancements to its last 10 schools lacking them at a regular meeting Oct. 17.

Trustees voted 6-1 to select two architectural firms to design the security upgrades. Scheduled to be completed in summer 2020, the enhancements will mark the final step in a seven-year endeavor by LISD to make all its 43 schools substantially safer, according to LISD officials.

Fields and Associates Architects, which has an office in West Lake Hills, was awarded design contracts for six middle schools: Canyon Ridge, Four Points, Henry, Running Brushy, Stiles and Wiley.

Pfluger Architects, which has offices in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, received contracts for three high school and one alternative school: Glenn, Rouse, New Hope and Leander Extended Opportunity.

Both firms will draw up designs, which will be followed by cost estimates, according to LISD. All security enhancements at the 10 schools will be funded through the $454.4 million school bond passed in 2017.

Planned enhancements include secure entry vestibules and other measures, depending on the age and the type of school, according to LISD.

Security upgrades were completed last summer at Cedar Park High School, Cedar Park Middle School, Leander High School, Leander Middle School, Vandegrift High School and Vista Ridge High School. Each project was designed by one of four architectural firms.

Each firm's work was graded by LISD on an “evaluation matrix” to measure their performance on the six schools, according to LISD documents. The two firms selected Thursday night received the highest assessments.

The final substantial security upgrades to be built in the summer of 2020 will bring every LISD school up to a roughly similar standard of security, according to LISD spokesperson Corey Ryan.

Plans for substantial security upgrades in LISD, with an emphasis on the elementary school level, began in earnest after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, said Jimmy Disler, LISD chief facilities and operations officer, in an August interview.

After Sandy Hook, money from the $559 million school bond passed in 2007 was diverted to improve security, Disler said.

Before the trustees' vote, Disler attempted to clarify some confusion over the grading system. Trustee Jim MacKay voted against the firm selections without comment. During a meeting intermission, he said he voted against the measure because he felt the grading system was not done in a fair manner.
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.


Tarvin Elementary School construction
New Leander ISD rezoning to reduce crowding at Parkside, Pleasant Hill elementary schools

The new attendance zoning will take effect in August when Tarvin Elementary, the district's 28th elementary school, opens.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

H-E-B will open a new location in the Oak Hill neighborhood of Southwest Austin in August. (Rendering courtesy H-E-B)
H-E-B to open in Oak Hill in Aug.; comedy club coming to The Domain and more news from February

Read business and community news from the past month from Central Texas.

Jo's Coffee opened a North Austin location in January. (Courtesy Chad Wadsworth)
Jo's Coffee opens in Central Austin; new restaurant coming to Georgetown Square and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Here is everything you need to know about Williamson County’s COVID-19 vaccine plan. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here is everything you need to know about Williamson County’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

Here is a breakdown of what happened, how decisions were made and how vaccine distribution is moving forward in Williamson County.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

park rendering
Leander's Old Town Park to feature stage, water cannons, tower

City Council approved the park concept plan Feb. 23.

The 4ATX Foundation uses soccer to teach local kids life and leadership skills. (Photo courtesy Austin FC)
Austin’s new MLS team ramps up community work, engagement ahead of inaugural season

Before the team has even played a second of competitive play, Austin FC already has a handful of zealous supporters groups. Read here to find out who they are.

Leander lifts boil-water notice

Leander remains under Stage 4 water restrictions.

Williamson County is expecting two weeks' worth of COVID-19 vaccine doses after the winter storm delay. (Courtesy Pexels)
Williamson County expects double COVID-19 vaccine doses after winter storm delay

Officials said the county will prioritize individuals who were scheduled to receive a vaccine during the week of Feb. 15 before offering appointments to waitlisted individuals.