The second archeological survey at the site of a new Fort Bend ISD elementary school has found no evidence of human remains or past burial sites on the property, according to a Nov. 10 news release from the district.

This comes five years after the remains of 95 individuals were found on the site of FBISD’s James Reese Career and Technical Center, which prompted activists to question district officials during August and September board meetings after the district announced the school plans. They expressed concern about the possibility of graves being discovered at the site, as it once housed a prison farm in the late 1800s.

The new school will be near Harlem Road and Harvest Garden Boulevard in the Harvest Green community. Before closing on the purchase of land for the future school from Johnson Development, officials hired a firm, Terracon, to conduct an extensive survey of the site, including extensive digging at the site, according to the news release.

Some context

The initial archaeological survey conducted in August at the site came back negative for human remains.

“The artifacts we found are things that you would usually find, like a fork and a bottle and just—and other things like that ... but nothing in comparison to what we saw last time,” Deputy Superintendent Steven Bassett said in an early October interview.

Ahead of the second survey in late October, Bassett had said the district was being extremely cautious.

“What I would say is that we're in the teaching and learning business,” he said. “So it's important to always learn from what's happened in the past, and I'm sure there's some lessons learned.”

Next steps

The Texas Historical Commission now has to review Terracon’s final report, and the process may take up to 30 days. Construction on the site can’t begin until the district receives authorization from the commission, per state law.

Funded by the district’s $1.26 billion May bond referendum, the new $46 million elementary school will sit on 16 acres. The school will accommodate 1,000 students and is scheduled to open in August 2026, according to the release.

It will be a 130,000-square-foot space featuring art and music rooms, spaces for collaborative and large group instruction, outdoor teaching areas, and fenced playgrounds.