New Braunfels ISD temporarily halts construction on new elementary school

New Braunfels ISD broke ground on the new school in August. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
New Braunfels ISD broke ground on the new school in August. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

New Braunfels ISD broke ground on the new school in August. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

Six months after breaking ground on a new elementary school, New Braunfels ISD officials have temporarily halted construction on the campus.

The school, slated to be built at the former location of the Ninth Grade Center at 659 S. Guenther Ave., was approved through the district’s 2018 bond program.

Once complete, the campus is expected to accommodate approximately 850 students and will replace Carl Schurz and Seele elementary schools, which were built in 1935 and 1950, respectively.

In a Feb. 23 communication to parents, NBISD Superintendent Cade Smith announced that the district had issued a temporary stop-work order at the site after a demographer’s study highlighted rapid growth elsewhere in the district.

“Last month, we also shared with you the results from the demographic study recently conducted by a third party, which provides us with a glimpse into the next 10 years of our student population growth,” Smith wrote in the parent email.

The demographic study indicated that Klein Road and Voss Farms elementary schools will be over capacity next school year and will continue to grow beyond capacity even after the eight additional classrooms approved in the 2021 bond are added, Smith wrote.

“We have also found that quite a bit of land is currently being developed in these [school’s] zones that were not accounted for in our demographer’s report, which pushes our projected student growth further ahead,” Smith wrote. “Our next proposed bond could potentially be in 2024 and would bring the possibility of a fourth new elementary school in this area that could open in 2026, if passed.”

The short-term stop-work order at the Guenther Avenue elementary campus will allow the district more time to examine the demographic data and an ongoing facilities study of Carl Schurz and Seele, Smith wrote.

Once the information has been fully reviewed, Smith said district officials will evaluate whether or not to continue building the school or to build an elementary school on the east side of the district to relieve overcrowding at Klein Road and Voss Farms.

“We certainly want to be a district that does what we say we will do; however, in a fast-growth community, we also have to be mindful of the adjusting patterns and rate of growth that evolves,” Smith wrote. “Our whole intent is to ensure we are making well-thought-out facility decisions that are in the absolute best interest of building capacities, life expectancy and your tax dollars.”

Smith said staff hopes to share additional information with the public in March.
By Lauren Canterberry

Reporter, New Braunfels

Lauren joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in October 2019. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, Lauren was a freelance journalist and worked as a college English teacher in China. At CI, Lauren covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in New Braunfels.