As part of Richardson ISD's middle school transformation plan, work is slated to begin before the end of the current school year on construction of the new Lake Highlands Middle School as well as renovations to the future Forest Meadow Middle School.

The RISD board of trustees received an update during its Nov. 15 meeting on the preliminary design work that has been done on the two campuses from architecture firm Perkins & Will.

Using a phased construction approach, the middle school transformation plan calls for facility adjustments at junior high campuses over the course of several years to make room for sixth graders, district officials said. The goal is to have construction completed at all campuses by school year 2030-31, according to a district presentation on the 2021 bond earlier this year. Funds from the bond, which was approved by RISD voters in May, will be used to pay for the Lake Highlands and Forest Meadow projects.

The Forest Meadow project is expected to go out for bid in January, followed by the Lake Highlands project in February, Perkins & Will principal Vandana Nayak said during the Nov. 15 meeting. The Forest Meadow project would then go before the board in March to allow construction to begin in April, she said. The Lake Highlands project would be brought before the board in April, and construction could then begin in May.

Nayak said Forest Meadow is slated to be completed by July 2023, while the new Lake Highlands is expected to be done in May 2024. She said the existing Lake Highlands Junior High School will be demolished once the middle school is completed.

"The original plan for the middle school transformation is to have sixth graders come into Forest Meadow in August of 2024," Assistant Superintendent Sandra Hayes said. "So we have ample ability to adjust the schedule [if needed]."

Perkins & Will has worked potential delays related to supply chain shortages into the schedules for the construction work, Nayak said.

Hayes said the middle school transformation plan will eventually touch each of the district's service areas.

"We currently recommend four buildings be rebuilt, one in each of the learning communities," Hayes said. "So each learning community will go through the same process ... as we build a new school and tear down an existing school that has been there since the '50s or '60s."