To accommodate the projected growth, the district is forming a bond planning committee early this year in anticipation of a bond appearing on the November ballot.
This comes as Montgomery and Willis ISDs are planning to kick off construction in 2023 on projects from their bond packages approved by voters in May, including a new elementary school in MISD and a new middle school in WISD.
In CISD, voters last approved a bond in November 2019, which totaled $677.37 million, including $315.8 million for new campuses and additions.
CISD officials said at a Dec. 6 meeting that needs over the next decade will include two new high schools as well as 19 other schools throughout the district. Within the Conroe and Caney Creek feeder zones, 16 new schools will be needed by 2032-33, including two new high schools, officials said.
CISD Superintendent Curtis Null said in an interview the district’s growth is a good challenge to have.
“It says positive things about our community [and] about our school district that families are moving here, and they want to raise their families in Montgomery County—in Conroe ISD,” he said.
Demographic study results
A demographic study by Population and Survey Analysts presented Dec. 6 showed three growth scenarios: low-, moderate- and high-growth projections.
Historically, CISD has recorded enrollment higher than the highest projections provided in previous studies with the exception of the 2020-21 school year in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the district.
PASA’s highest enrollment projection said in the 2032-33 school year, the district could have an enrollment of over 120,000 students, up from 73,195 in the current school year.
PASA President Stacey Tapera said at the meeting that PASA aims to remain conservative in the projections it presents.
“It is very important to us that we don’t make big promises or big projections that would cause you to overbuild,” Tapera said.
In Conroe, hot spots for growth come from single-family developments Artavia, Grand Central Park, Mavera, Evergreen, Silverthorne, Spring Branch Crossing and Sweetwater Ridge.
By the 2032-33 school year, 47 of the district’s 59 campuses are estimated to be at or over capacity, without taking new campuses into consideration, according to the study. More than 54% of those schools over capacity will be at more than 120% capacity, it states.
In addition to Bartlett Elementary, Hines Elementary and Veterans Memorial Intermediate schools as well as the new Moorhead Junior High school—built with 2019 bond funds—the study found the district will need to add 21 schools, including one kindergarten through sixth-grade school, seven elementary schools, two intermediate schools, two junior high schools, two ninth-grade campuses and two high schools in northern CISD.
“There are many, many, many other factors that go into the decision and reality of building this many schools,” Tapera said. “We are just here to give you one bit, one piece of the puzzle.”
As of the 2022-23 school year, the district is already at 102% capacity overall, according to the district.
At the Dec. 6 meeting, Null said the district could see at least 2,600 more students in the 2023-24 school year but will only be adding space for 1,600 new students in the remaining schools planned from the 2019 bond.
"We’re going to go 1,000 in the hole next year. The following year, we’re going to add 1,000 seats but add 3,000 [students], so we’re going to go another 2,000 in,” he said. “We know we’re going to continue with the deficit piece; we just have to work with it.”
To address the projected growth, the district is working on forming a bond committee that will begin meeting Feb. 2 in anticipation of a bond being placed on the Nov. 7 ballot; the deadline to call a bond is Aug. 21.
Montgomery, Willis projects
As CISD weighs the need for a bond, Montgomery and Willis ISDs are getting to work on projects voters approved in 2022 bonds.
WISD officials said the district anticipates construction to begin this summer on Middle School No. 3 to relieve Brabham Middle School, part of the district’s $143.05 million Proposition A that voters approved in May. A fine arts expansion at Lynn Lucas Middle School is also expected to commence this summer, while new turf on the Willis High School baseball and softball fields will wrap up this summer.
The MISD board of trustees approved the name of Elementary School No. 7—Creekside Elementary—on Dec. 20, which was included in the $326.9 million bond voters approved in May. It is expected to be sent for construction bids in March, according to MISD information.
The design has also been completed for an addition to Lake Creek High School, and the design is ongoing for renovations at campuses and for the proposed career and technical education and agricultural science centers.
“While we can’t visually see it, we have been busy, and we are very proud of the amount of work that we have accomplished since the bond was passed in May,” said Kris Lynn, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, during the meeting.
Cassandra Jenkins and Peyton MacKenzie contributed to this report.