District residents can see the effect of Pflugerville ISD’s 2014 bond as PfISD progresses on several construction projects throughout the district.
PfISD is constructing High School No. 4 off Weiss Lane as well as a new Timmerman Elementary School and district stadium across the street from Pflugerville High School. Furthermore, the district hired a contractor in February for its 21st elementary school.
PfISD Superintendent Alex Torrez said the district has moved forward on several projects simultaneously to save taxpayers money because of rising local construction costs.
“We’re being fiscally responsible,” Torrez said. “For every month we wait, the cost of labor and materials increases.”
Torrez said the district is also moving aggressively because the deadlines for the projects are “hard deadlines,” meaning they have to open before the start of a certain school year.
“When we say the high school is going to open in 2017, we don’t have flexibility with that because all our planning is geared toward that first day of school,” he said. “If you’re a business and you’re building the facility you can maneuver with your opening date. But when you’re talking about opening and adding hundreds of students to a campus, everybody is expecting that’s where they’re going to be.”
Deputy Superintendent Troy Galow said the projects are on schedule despite heavier rains than usual for the season, which often lead to construction delays.
“When we build a job schedule we budget certain rain delays to account for that,” Galow said. “We know a few of those days are not going to be constructible days.”
Gary Schulte, coordinator of construction for PfISD, said the district is incorporating environmentally friendly building elements.
“For heating and cooling we use geothermal systems whenever possible,” he said. “We use a lot of daylighting timers and sensors throughout the campus, which is the most efficient [lighting]system.”
Torrez said the reason for the projects is growth within the district, which also covers areas of Austin, Round Rock and Travis County.
Torrez said looking at the demographer’s reports, district officials expect the facilities the bond money is funding to carry the district into about 2020.
“In 2020 the district is expecting 26,855 students. The [current]facilities won’t be able to manage that number of students,” Torrez said. “That’s not a long ways away. We’ve got to continue working with our demographer and the municipalities to ensure we’re staying up to speed with all the developments in our school district.”
The District’s Big Projects
As pflugerville isd residents move throughout the area, they will see several district projects going vertical.
New Timmerman Elementary school
Opening: Spring 2017
Construction budget: $22.6 million
Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Torrez said the biggest emphasis on constructing new facilities in the bond is on elementary schools because that is where most growth is happening in the district.
Torrez said a citizens bond committee recommended the district build a new Timmerman Elementary School at a new site instead of renovating the existing facility.
He said the board of trustee made the decision to place the campus off Pecan Street for improved student safety and accessibility.
The existing Timmerman will be utilized for the PACE program and possible other uses in the future.
Opening: Spring 2017
Construction budget: $25.8 million
Gary Schulte, coordinator of construction for PfISD, said the stadium will hold about 10,000 attendees and will host football games and other events such as band or cheerleading competitions and soccer games.
“Pflugerville ISD is positioned so that other teams may want to use the stadium for their own playoff games,” he said.
Torrez said one of the factors leading to a districtwide stadium was that crowds were often bigger than the current stadiums’ capacities.
“Some community members were avoiding going to the games because they didn’t want to have to navigate the seating or park a long way away from the event,” he said.
Torrez said the citizens bond advisory committee recommended the district build the districtwide stadium after its members looked at the possibility of updating every campus stadium with the requisite seating and other amenities the schools’ sports teams needed.
Torrez said the district will keep the campus stadiums and will keep them upgraded and up to standard.
“We will continue to utilize them as the district continues to grow,” he said.
Elementary School No. 21
Opening: Fall 2017
Construction budget: $28.35 million
Elementary School No. 21 is the most recent of the PfISD bond projects to be awarded a contractor. In building the school, Torrez said the new school is “right in line” with the growth the district is seeing along Kelly and Rowe lanes.
“It’s really well-positioned to help relieve Rowe Lane Elementary, Riojas and Murchison,” he said. “They’re feeling the pinch right now in being overcrowded.”
Galow said the school will face the northern portion of the property and will be positioned to maximize the queuing lanes for parents.
High School No. 4
Opening: Fall 2017
Construction budget: $104.4 million
Torrez said the new high school off Weiss Lane is going to set the district up for the next eight to 10 years’ worth of growth.
“That’s where a lot of the new developments are coming in,” Torrez said.
Torrez said the site can eventually host a new elementary school and middle school as well.
“It’s really set there for the long term to take care of that community that’s going to be developed all around that high school,” he said.
Torrez said the location off Weiss is geographically central in the district’s boundaries because the district’s boundaries encompass land outside the city of Pflugerville and even toward Manor.
“There’s still a lot of growth that will happen in our community in that direction,” he said.