As work continues on the largest construction project in the nation, ExxonMobil and its thousands of employees moving to the Greater Houston area have already begun planning for their relocation.
Several leaders from The Woodlands area flew to Fairfax, Va., in April to attended ExxonMobil's Houston relocation fair. Among the organizations that made the trip included Conroe ISD and The Woodlands Development Company. Jeanne Lewis, manager of relocation and broker relations for the Development Company, said as many as 3,500 registered for the event, including employees and their family members.
"A lot of it was just talking to people and showing them what The Woodlands has to offer," Lewis said. "We were honored to be asked to represent The Woodlands, and it was a really great event."
Lewis said the Development Company fielded questions about new and established residential development in the community, education and amenities. She said Fairfax is an active community and ExxonMobil employees were intrigued by the parks, pathways, outdoor amenities and community involvement offered by The Woodlands.
Although she did not know the number of employees expected to relocate to The Woodlands or where they may plan to move, Lewis said employees could occupy new homes in Creekside Park, as well as used homes throughout the community when the 3 million-square-foot campus is completed in the first quarter of 2015.
"[The fair] is really going to help us in future planning," Lewis said.
Lisa Meeks, director of communications for Conroe ISD, said CISD was one of many school districts represented, including Spring, Humble and Houston, while representatives from museums, hospitals and other community leaders also attended. Meeks said relocating ExxonMobil employees showed significant interest in Conroe ISD, and the company anticipates as much as 85-90 percent of their employees' children—or about 1,300 students—could attend CISD schools upon relocation at the end of 2014.
"By far, everybody wanted to know about Conroe ISD," Meeks said.
ExxonMobil employees were concerned about the quality of the schools in the area coming from what they feel is an exceptional school district in Fairfax, Meeks said, but were pleased with CISD's offerings.
With a similar science-minded academy in Fairfax, she said, employees showed particular interest in the Academy of Science and Technology offered at College Park High School, as well as the dual credit courses offered by Lone Star College-Montgomery.
Fine arts programs were also a hot topic, as parents explored extracurricular activity options.
Meeks said she spoke with about 300 people at the event, who asked questions about schools occupying multiple areas of Montgomery County, including The Woodlands, Oak Ridge North and schools around the Lake Conroe area.
"You saw a number parents there and a lot of parental support," she said. "Education was among the top issues for their employee survey."