In the past five years, McKinney ISD’s student population has increased from 24,442 to 24,715. Although the school district has seen moderate growth to date, district officials are preparing for a future boom in student population.
In addition to recently completed and ongoing campus renovations, the MISD board of trustees is also considering a bond election in May. Trustees at the Aug. 25 board meeting voted to allow staffers to begin researching costs on five projects—a new auditorium, a natatorium, a stadium and both technology and safety updates.
“We have asked central office staff to go ahead and start getting together some numbers on what different projects would cost that citizens have already asked us about,” MISD board President Amy Dankel said. “We will form a citizen committee in January that will narrow down the list to see what the district needs and what residents want. Then we will hold public hearings in the spring and hopefully hold a bond election in May.”
Dankel said some of the projects were approved in a 2000 bond election, but never happened because of a downturn in the economy.
“There is already plumbing for a pool at McKinney North [High School] that had been added before the economic downturn [in 2008], which eventually put the project on hold,” she said. “We also have funding approved for a stadium, although it will not be nearly enough to cover construction costs now.”
Funding for the stadium was also approved in the 2000 bond election and is still in place. However, Dankel said the $13.5 million approved is nowhere near the amount needed now, citing a rise in construction costs. This has caused the board to take a closer look at the cost of a potential stadium and the possibility of issuing additional bonds to cover construction.
The district owns land near the intersection of Hardin Boulevard and SH 121 that would provide the appropriate amount of space for the stadium and its parking, Dankel said.
The effects of the previous bond election held by MISD in 2011 for $191 million can be seen in the renovations done at McKinney High School, Faubion Middle School, Dowell Middle School and upcoming renovations at McKinney North.
Corey Gililland, the district’s director of construction, said renovations to Dowell were completed before students returned to school Aug 24.
New additions to the school include new classrooms, expansion of the athletic areas and fine arts areas, and finishes to some of the existing building halls and classrooms. The school also received a new canopy on the front entrance.
McKinney High received an expansion of nearly 190,000 square feet in 2013 that allowed for new classrooms and more space in common areas. The renovations made up $46 million of the $191 million bond package.
Faubion also saw an increase in space to account for 1,200 more students, including new classrooms and an auditorium and courtyard makeover.
McKinney North will receive new classrooms to help expand the career and technical education programs, a new band hall, a wrestling room, an expansion of bleachers to the baseball and softball fields, and renovations to the existing building to help open the spaces for better student foot traffic flow, Gililland said.
“Growth plays a major part in how and where we decide to add on, renovate or build new schools,” he said. “The district works very close with its demographer to be able to see where the growth
is within the district so we can plan accordingly.”
Although some of McKinney North’s construction will take place during the school year, Gililland said the safety of the students and staff is the No. 1 priority during the renovation project. The construction team will work closely with the campus to ensure the areas under construction are kept separate from the students and staff, he said.
“The students will benefit by the expanded programs that will be offered on campus,” Gililland said. “Technology upgrades are also a big part of the project that will enhance the students’ learning experience.”
Also on the books for MISD are additions and renovations for Malvern Elementary and Reuben Johnson Elementary schools. Both projects will begin in January with an anticipated completion in August.
Planning for the future
Dankel said the district is focusing on McKinney North’s renovations in preparation for the impending growth of the northwest sector, which includes 30,000 acres of undeveloped land. Residential development is already taking place in the area including the Trinity Falls neighborhood.
City Planning Manager Jennifer Arnold said the projected population for the city’s northwest sector is expected to be 31,204 in 2020. It is currently home to 24,095 people.
“We really feel that most of the growth will be coming [to north McKinney]once US 75 is complete,” Dankel said.
According to the Trinity Falls master plan, there will be two MISD schools located within the development. The district has no current plans to build those schools in the immediate future.
According to a presentation given during the Aug. 25 MISD board of trustees meeting by Bob Templeton of Templeton Demographics, the district is set to see a 12.6 percent growth during the next 10 years.
“In five years we are looking at almost 26,000 students,” he said. “By the year 2025, we are looking at 28,000 students.”
Templeton said the North Texas area will continue to see a large increase in population because of the thriving job market, adding that as more families move in more students will be attending MISD, especially at Press and McClure schools.
Templeton said that as the average home price continues to rise in McKinney it could affect the number of students within certain MISD schools.
“The average starter home price is roughly $250,000,” he said. “When we look at the way the school districts are growing, a lot of them are growing in the upper elementary or middle school because to afford those homes you have to be an older family.”
MISD could lose some students, he said, as young families extend their search for affordable starter homes to Melissa or Anna where homes cost less.