Spring ISD welcomed students to two of three new districtwide ninth-grade centers on Sept. 21 as part of the district's phased return to in-person learning.

Funded by the district's $330 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2016, the three ninth-grade centers are expected to ease the transition for students from middle to high school, while alleviating overcrowding at Dekaney, Spring and Westfield high schools.

"The new facilities come at such an important time for Spring ISD," Superintendent Rodney Watson said in a statement. "We are grateful to the community who supported the bond projects and allowed us to move forward with these buildings, which will help us meet the academic and social needs of our new high school students. The timing couldn't be better. They will help us with social distancing during the pandemic."

While the Spring and Dekaney ninth-grade centers opened Sept. 21, construction on the Westfield High School Ninth-Grade Center is still ongoing, though it is nearing completion. Each of the three campuses has the capacity for up to 900 students.

According to a press release by PBK Architects, which designed the Spring High School Ninth-Grade Center, the new 147,000 square-foot, two-story building is located at 19640 Lockridge Drive, Spring, and features a media center, a black box theater, dining commons, dance and art labs, a gymnasium, culinary and science labs, and several collaboration hubs. The facility is also home to the new Captain James Boyer JROTC Center, which features four classrooms, a rifle range, showers, restrooms and support spaces for the district's award-winning program, the release states.

According to a SISD press release, the Dekaney High School Ninth-Grade Center is a 130,989-square-foot campus located at 22351 Imperial Valley Drive, Spring, that features a three-story classroom wing and a one-story wing for auxiliary needs, such as athletic spaces, a cafeteria and fine arts facilities.

Upon opening in just a few weeks, the 178,168-square-foot Westfield High School Ninth-Grade Center will feature dining commons, athletic areas and large, modernized classroom spaces, the release states. The Westfield High School Ninth-Grade Center is located at 1500 Southridge Road, Houston.