Two new wings slated for construction at Round Rock High School

The Round Rock ISD board approved $49.4 million in construction projects, including adding two new wings at Round Rock High School to accommodate an additional 1,200 students and alleviate projected overcrowding.

During the May 17 board meeting, trustees discussed what to do with $71.2 million of remaining funds from bonds and general operations fund balances. Trustees voted 6-1, with Terri Romere the lone dissenter, to spend only part of the dollars, leaving $18.8 million on the table.

About $46.4 million will fund construction for a portion of Phase 3 in the Round Rock High School's master plan, which calls for building two wings on the west end of campus near Deepwood Drive. The wings will connect to the Phase 2 portion, which houses the new cafeteria, library, gymnasium and athletic area.

Alan Albers, executive director of operations and maintenance, said he would like to bid the project in January 2013 and allow for 18 months of construction so the project would be ready for school year 2014–15. With the addition, the high school's enrollment could reach 4,142, up from the 2,942 projected for 2012-13.

The board also approved replacing the roof at Grisham Middle School for $3 million, a project that trustee Diane Cox said the board has been pushing off at least since she became a trustee in 2005.

The district accrued $36.6 million in savings from completed bond projects, including Phase 1 and 2 at Round Rock High School, approved in the last two bond elections from 2006 and 2008. Superintendent Jesus Chavez said the savings come from the cost of labor and materials declining after voters approved the bonds.

The remaining $34.6 million is excess revenue in the general operating fund balance. Randy Staats, executive director of business services, said the district has had lower expenditures than revenues for the past several years.

"It's an accumulation over a number of years," he said. " At the end of the year, whatever excess revenues we have fall to fund balance. The board has discretion of how to spend those."

Romere said she voted no because she did not feel comfortable spending money on construction projects the voters did not approve, even if the board is legally allowed to spend that money.

"I really feel that to make a decision tonight, it's just rushing through with millions of dollars," she said.

The board chose the wing addition at the high school over several other proposals, including building a middle school adjacent to the new Elsa England Elementary School near Parmer Lane and Avery Ranch Boulevard slated to open in August. The new addition would have been used as a ninth-grade center until a sixth high school was built and then converted to a middle school. That project cost would have been $59 million.

"Rather than have a ninth-grade center over by Elsa England, slash future middle school, I think the two-wing addition at Round Rock High School also presents a better boundary scenario out into the future as well," trustee Bobby Seiferman said.

The wing additions at Round Rock High School will also alleviate projected overcrowding in enrollment at Stony Point High School, which is projected to exceed its capacity of 2,454 in school year 2013–14 if the district does nothing, according to enrollment figures.

Building a ninth-grade center at Stony Point for roughly $45 million also was turned down because trustees were unsure of how much growth the eastern side of the district would see. Trustees did not take building Success High School for $25 million completely off table. Success is the district's alternative high school that meets in nine portables at Stony Point and four portables at Westwood High School.

Trustees delayed discussion of building Success High School for another time.


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