To immediately address overcrowding in some areas and to fill a new campus, the CISD board of trustees rezoned the Grand Oaks feeder zone at its Jan. 17 meeting.
The feeder zone is set to see at least 1,365 additional high school students projected in the next 10 years.
Chris McCord, assistant superintendent of operations for CISD, said in an interview that the district works with information from developers to determine its needs for potential bonds and rezoning.
“Developers are very helpful and excited to have their homes be a part of Conroe ISD,” McCord said. “So we work together collaboratively. But there are a lot of developers, and there’s a lot of development.”
PASA’s demographics study attributed the growth to rising birth rates, high demand for large developable tracts of land, increases in single-family housing and expansions of master-planned communities such as Woodson’s Reserve, Artavia, Evergreen and Mavera in south Montgomery County.
PASA President Stacey Tapera said at a special CISD board meeting reviewing the demographic study Dec. 6 that those developments alone will exceed 9,000 additional homes in the area in the next decade.
“In addition to that, there is probable continued single-family development in the very far southeast ... south of Woodson’s Reserve,” she said.
Investors and developers are drawn to Montgomery County because Harris County is mostly built out as well as CISD’s proximity to I-45, according to the study.
Districts to the south—such as Humble, northern Cy-Fair and Klein ISDs—are all nearly built out, the study said, which makes CISD the “next frontier in suburban residential development.”
The Conroe, Caney Creek and Grand Oaks feeders are projected to see the most overall growth, adding 3,568, 2,996 and 1,365 students, respectively, to their high schools by October 2032, and Oak Ridge will see 784 additional students, according to the study.
While the projected enrollment in 10 years is around 98,000 students, McCord said the district has historically recorded higher-than-projected numbers.
To prepare for the expected growth, the board of trustees called for the formation of a bond committee that is scheduled to meet 11 times throughout the spring and summer before presenting its recommendations to the board, which will then vote on calling a bond. The deadline to call a bond for the November election is Aug. 27.
Rapidly growing areas
One of the fastest growing areas within CISD’s boundaries is the Grand Oaks feeder zone in south Montgomery County, according to the PASA study.
“There’s growth throughout the Grand Oaks feeder, but the Woodson’s Reserve area is where we’re looking at it now—and the east side of the Grand Oaks feeder, that’s where growth is going to be coming primarily from that area,” McCord said.
According to the demographic study, Woodson’s Reserve, which is in the southeastern corner of the district, is expected to see an addition of 1,145 homes from 2022-27 and 550 homes from 2027-2032.
In addition to Woodson’s Reserve, the Grand Oaks feeder has large, undeveloped areas of land in its southern tip that are expected to turn into housing developments, the study reported.
Other high-growth developments in the district include the Artavia, Mavera and Evergreen neighborhoods off Hwy. 242, which are projected to see additions of 3,305, 2,393 and 1,881 homes over 10 years, respectively.
Located just east of the current Oak Ridge zone boundaries, they are within the Caney Creek attendance zone.
Robert Santini, director of land acquisition and development at Evergreen developer Shea Homes, said he believes The Woodlands area draws developers.
“This area has it all, when you look at it from a development standpoint,” Santini said. “There are strong and growing employment opportunities. ... You have a well-rated school district, ... great transportation access, ... and there are existing natural amenities.”
Evergreen, a Shea Homes community located on Hwy. 242, was flagged by PASA as a high-growth development. Santini said it will see nearly 2,000 homes in the next 10 years.
Additionally, a 22-acre parcel of land near Sawdust Road set to be used for a high-density residential development was sold in January to an affiliate of Marquette Properties, and it was not included in the demographic projections prepared by PASA, according to the district.
Growth also comes from expansions and additions to existing developments, according to the district.
“At times, developments may change from their original plans for lot sizes and go from a larger parcel to a smaller lot, and when they do that, that can really rapidly increase the total density of development, which dramatically increases the number of students,” McCord said.
McCord said growth is not limited to just one area of the district, which makes it more difficult to keep up with the changes.
“The growth is everywhere. It’s really especially prominent on the east side of I-45, ... but the issue is, the growth is everywhere,” he said.
Due to growth in the Grand Oaks feeder zone and in anticipation of the opening of Hines Elementary School on Lexington Boulevard in Spring in August 2024, CISD rezoned its elementary and intermediate school boundaries within the feeder at its Jan. 17 meeting.
McCord said when going through the rezoning process, the attendance boundary committee’s goal is to reduce enrollment at overcrowded campuses while minimizing the number of times a family has to be rezoned.
“You have to walk a balance between leaving room for growth but also accomplishing one of the goals of the new school, which is to relieve overcrowding at existing schools,” he said. “So we try to take all that into consideration.”
To relieve overcrowding at Clark Intermediate, 199 children from the Legends Trace and Legends Run neighborhoods will be moved to Cox Intermediate.
To populate Hines Elementary and provide relief to Broadway and Snyder elementaries, 1,094 elementary students will be rezoned within those schools.
“When you have overcrowding at multiple campuses, obviously the addition of a new school will help, but you can only do so much with one campus. Additional schools are going to be needed as people continue to move to our area,” McCord said.
Hines will open in August with 742 students moved from Snyder. Another 352 students from Harmony Village and Harmony Central will move from Broadway to Snyder. When the district rezones an area, McCord said the goal is to get four to five years out of the shift.
“We really try to not move a student more than once while he or she is going to a particular campus,” he said. “We are largely successful at that—now, the faster the rate of growth, the more difficult it is.”
Elsewhere in the district, Bartlett Elementary, a new elementary campus set to open in August 2024, will provide some relief to elementary schools in Caney Creek and Conroe high schools’ feeder zones. An attendance boundary committee will be formed for that rezoning in August of this year, according to district officials.
“That one new building needs to address a lot of campuses that need relief on the east side of our district,” McCord said. “We’re looking forward to it, but it’s going to be a challenge.”