At a May 12 Hutto ISD board meeting, representatives from design firm VLK Architects presented a design schematic for the district's upcoming third middle school.

As presented, the new middle school, located just south of Kerley Elementary School, will have a capacity of 1,200 students.

VLK incorporated public input from HISD students and staff into the design.

One way public input manifested in the final design is in the presence of a large central courtyard.

"Your community, your teachers and your students really came together and said they wanted this outdoor learning space," VLK design architect Richard Hunt said.

Science, art, and career and technical education programs will have immediate access to the courtyard from their classrooms to facilitate use of the outdoor space, Hunt said.

Other key features of the design include a 186-space parking lot; the incorporation of technology for blended learning; and a focus on compact, efficient use of space.

Next, VLK will move into the design development phase and then begin preparing construction documents. VLK President-in-Charge Tim Kunz said he expects to open bidding for construction in October.

According to Kunz, the process is on track for the construction on the middle school to be complete by fall 2024.

VLK does not yet have a precise cost estimate for the project, but $77.76 million of the district's $194 million bond approved in 2019 was set aside for middle school improvements and the construction of the new middle school.