Katy ISD trustees officially called for a Nov. 5 student activities facilities bond election Aug. 19 to fund the construction of a second stadium, STEM project center and agricultural sciences center.
“We’re fortunate because of the growth here in Katy that we won’t need a tax increase to pass this bond,” said Tommy Harrison, bond committee chairman. “Student activities need to keep pace with the growth, and we want to make sure the type of facilities we provide for all three of these projects are not so-so, but the best.”
The second stadium would cost $69.5 million to build and would seat 14,000 people. Plans call for the multipurpose facility to be located on a 58-acre site adjacent to Rhodes Stadium, and it could be complete by 2015 if approved by voters. The stadium would be designed by PBK Architects.
“After group discussion the bond committee easily came to the consensus that 14,000 seats was the right number for this referendum,” Harrison said. “It provides us an opportunity to hold larger events and playoff games, which is an economic driver for the community.”
During the July board meeting, KISD officials said the district is the only one in Texas with more than six high schools and only one athletic stadium. As the district continues to grow—and with its seventh high school opening this fall—it will become more difficult to schedule games, Harrison said.
The proposed facility will include more than 4,600 parking spaces, an activity center, multipurpose rooms, field house, security command center, locker rooms, storage, a press box, administrative offices film decks, training rooms and other support areas.
“Those stadiums being side by side has been a lot of what I heard about, and in the beginning it was negative,” said Rebecca Fox, KISD board president. “But now people are circulating the idea of what it means to have two stadiums side by side [which]in Texas is unheard of, and the opportunities for things that will come here. We’re going to be visionaries in the end.”
The proposed STEM project center would cost $4.5 million and would be located adjacent to the Miller Career and Technology Center on district-owned land. Designed by VLK Architects. The new facility would provide additional classroom space big enough for students to conduct large-scale experiments and build projects such as boats and catapults, according to the district.
“We’re excited and pleased about the possibilities and, more importantly, the opportunities we’ll be able to provide for our students,” said Christine Caskey, KISD chief academic officer. “Not only our high school students or robotics students, but students in kindergarten through 12th grade as we look at providing real world learning experiences through the content of math and science.”
Across the district, a $25 million agricultural sciences center could be constructed at the existing Gerald D. Young facility off Katy-Hockley Road, providing an exhibition space for students. This would eliminate the need for travel from Gerald D. Young to the LD Robinson Pavilion more than six miles away, according to the district. The proposed facility would be designed by the SHW Group.
Ultimately, growth in the Katy area—a mix of new businesses and residential growth—will keep pulling down the district’s debt, trustee Terry Huckaby said.
“That growing [tax]base will keep pulling down the debt to the point that it’s not lingering debt, especially once the Grand Parkway goes through,” he said. “There are people just sitting and waiting to start buying. We haven’t even started to see what’s going to happen.”