At State of Dripping Springs presentation, focus is on growth

Superintendent Bruce Gearing reported on the strengths and challenges of the local school system at the State of Dripping Springs meeting.

Superintendent Bruce Gearing reported on the strengths and challenges of the local school system at the State of Dripping Springs meeting.

At the State of Dripping Springs presentation held April 18, assembled Dripping Springs residents heard from school and city officials about progress and current projects of note in the city. A common theme underscored the presentations: the effects of explosive growth in the Dripping Springs Area.

The event was organized by Corridor Title and hosted at the Amenities Center at the Headwaters development.

An expanding school district


Dripping Springs ISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing summarized growth projections for the school district, notably, that enrollment would likely double in the next decade, as representatives from Population and Survey Analysts of Texas reported to the board of trustees at their March 25 meeting. The most imminent plans to accommodate this growth include the construction of a new elementary school. While a high school expansion project is upcoming, Gearing said even more space would be needed for district high schoolers in the coming years, meaning either another expansion or an additional school would be needed.

“This community has to decide in the next year if we’re going to be a one high school town or a two high school town,” Gearing said.

Gearing said a full demographic report would be presented at a public meeting on May 23.

Developing Dripping Springs town center


Kenan Smith, project manager for the Dripping Springs Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone program, said the “tsunami of growth” in population coming to Dripping Springs was also affecting plans for new development in the town center, including welcoming new businesses onto Old Fitzhugh Road and assessing parking needs in the historic district. According to Smith, TIRZ team members are interested in “preserving the small-town character of Dripping Springs” by balancing modern business concepts with historically consistent design.

“It’s all about the harmonious and careful balancing of new and old,” said Smith.

Hiring DSISD workers


Before Gearing spoke, Patrick Rose implied that Dripping Springs’ school district—which has 100% graduation rate, as of 2018, according to the superintendent—as being a key reason many families move to the city.

“Show of hands, who lives in Dripping Springs Independent School District?” Rose asked. After hands went up, he added, “and who moved here because of Dripping Springs Independent School District?”

However, while growth may reflect positively on the reputations of the Dripping Springs community and schools, Gearing said filling certain staff positions has become difficult. According to the superintendent, 49% of DSISD employees currently live in the district, with “auxiliary positions” such as school bus drivers and janitorial workers finding to difficult to afford steepening home prices in Dripping Springs.

Citywide development


Dripping Springs Director of Planning Jason Lutz outlined other development and plans throughout the city, including a new apartment complex in Belterra, office warehouses on Sportsplex Drive and the 500-acre Driftwood Development agreement. He also noted that a new 5,000 square foot commercial office building would coming to the city.

Lutz emphasized the importance of expansion plans for the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which recently received $43 million of support from the Texas Water Development Board, according to a press release from the city. The plan includes a “green” element, a distribution system providing direct potable reuse.

“We’ve come a long way as a community in the past couple of years,” said Rose, in conclusion.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


MOST RECENT

Tacodeli co-owners Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson opened their first location in 1999. The seventh location for the local chain in Austin will open this summer in Circle C. (Courtesy Tacodeli)
Tacodeli to open a Circle C location this summer

The new location will be the seventh in Austin for the locally based chain, which first opened in 1999.

The city of Austin's Smart Mobility Office has partnered with Ford on self-driving vehicle initiatives. (Courtesy Ford Motor Company)
Austin's transportation department paving the way for rise in autonomous vehicle traffic

Several private companies are working on autonomous vehicle initiatives in Austin in addition to the city's own smart infrastructure planning.

COVID-19 precautions such as a masking requirement remain in place at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Courtesy Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)
'Signs of hope' on the horizon at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after year-plus dip in air travel

Rising passenger counts, new airline operations and an increase in vaccinations could all support the airport's recovery in 2021.

Capital Metro bus
Capital Metro announces increased transit services for Austin FC games this season

Capital Metro has increased the frequency of several bus routes for Austin FC game days at Q2 Stadium.

masks
CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Students at Norman-Sims Elementary School and Austin ISD's 124 other schools across the district will now be allowed to remove masks during outdoor physical activities with the permission of a parent or guardian. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD makes outdoor masking optional, eases other health, safety restrictions

Students engaging in outdoor physical activity will now have the option to remove masks.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin's phased process for moving people experiencing homelessness out of unregulated encampments will roll out through the summer. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City officials detail homeless education and enforcement plan with Proposition B ordinances now in effect

The process that will eventually remove the city's homeless encampment begins this month with outreach and warnings and will stretch until late summer with full enforcement.