Steering committee considers $690 million in possible projects, improvements for 2015 Klein ISD bond referendum

The steering committee for Klein ISD's upcoming 2015 bond referendum is considering up to $690.6 million worth of new construction, campus additions and other expenses that could be placed on the bond referendum next May.

Projects being considered for the bond include $100 million for the construction of a fifth high school, $45 million for the construction of a 10th intermediate school and $25 million to explore the site availability for a future elementary school as well as $197 million worth of capital costs.

"These are not the final figures [of the bond referendum]," said David Sturtz, project director for consulting firm DeJong-Richter. "They will be modified as we go through."

Made up of dozens of community leaders—including some Klein ISD staff—the steering committee met for the first time Aug. 26 to receive the first draft of the facility master plan, compiled by Jacobs Engineering. The steering committee will meet again Sept. 22 to go over data presented at the first meeting before a public community dialogue is held Oct. 20 to receive input from the community.

Following a work session on possible recommendations for the long-term plan, the committee will meet again Oct. 28 and Nov. 11 to finalize the recommendations. A presentation will be made at the Dec. 8 board of trustees meeting outlining the recommendations for the upcoming bond referendum.

The board can then chose to accept, modify or reject the proposal presented by Superintendent Jim Cain to the board in January.

"If accepted, this will lead us up to the May bond election," Cain said. "We have a lot of exciting times ahead of us."

Looking at projections of growth in the next five years, the first draft of the plan considered the findings of previous public meetings, online questionnaires and data collected at Klein ISD facilities to present a list of possible facility options.

Sturtz said the district has a policy of constructing new campuses when a particular school reaches 120 percent capacity. Although no schools currently meet that standard, the plan suggests that 11 Klein ISD schools will be over 120 percent capacity by the 2019-20 school year, including three of the district's four high schools.

With Klein Oak, Klein Forest and Klein Collins high schools all expected to exceed 120 percent capacity in five years, high schools provided the highest total cost for possible projects at $223.2 million.

Projects that could be funded by a bond referendum include $100 million for High School No. 5, a project that is expected to receive an additional $60 million in funding from leftover 2008 bond referendum money.

Other high school projects that could be funded by a referendum included $13.5 million to rebuild a new CTE building for Klein Forest High School, $11.4 million to build third gymnasiums at Klein Oak, Klein Collins and Klein Forest and $10 million to repurpose spaces at Klein Oak and Klein Collins to support Smaller Learning Communities.

Other schools expected to exceed 120 percent capacity by 2019-20 include Metzler, Mueller, Northampton, Schultz and Zwink elementary schools as well as Hildebrandt, Krimmel and Schindewolf intermediate schools.

To address the growth in the intermediate schools, possible options include $45 million for a new intermediate campus, $20.3 million for second gymnasiums at each of the eight elementary schools and $18.8 million for a new 6th grade center at Wunderlich Intermediate.

Elementary facility options include $25 million to explore site availability for a new elementary school in the northeast portion of the district, possible boundary changes to address imbalanced enrollment in the southeast section of the district and the construction of a new childhood pre-k center at Mueller Elementary.

The two elementary schools already planned for construction from 2008 bond funds—French Elementary and the school in Willowlakes Village—will prevent the district from having to construct a new school in the northwest quadrant of the district, the highest growth area, Sturtz said.

Sturtz said costs for many projects are estimates and have not been finalized.

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By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.