District residents approved the bond referendum in November to accommodate anticipated enrollment growth in the district.
The responsibilities for LAN, a Houston-based consulting firm, include scope development, design review, construction procurement and administration, scheduling and estimating, bidding and negotiations, budgeting, quality assurance and construction management, according to a Jan. 26 statement from LAN.
“We are looking forward to working with Tomball ISD to implement a program that will meet the district’s needs for the next 50 to 75 years,” LAN Vice President JP Grom said. “The program will provide Tomball’s students the environment and infrastructure needed to succeed in the 21st century.”
The district has not released a timeline on when projects may begin. However, TISD Chief Financial Officer Jim Ross said the district received a portion of the bond funds—about $150 million—in mid-January to begin construction. The two new school campuses—intended to relieve the growing student population at Willow Wood Junior High and Wildwood Elementary schools, respectively—will be among the first projects to begin construction, he said.
The initial funds will also allow construction to begin on the district athletic stadium and the expansion to Tomball Memorial High School, Ross said.
Ross said determining a construction timeline for the projects is complicated by Harris County’s adjusted building codes, which took effect Jan. 1 for all projects located within the 100-year floodplain. The new code—approved during Commissioners Court on Dec. 5—requires homes and business located within the 100-year floodplain in unincorporated Harris County to be built two feet above the 500-year floodplain to mitigate flooding to structures.
“Those requirements are being proudly boasted as the most strict building requirements in the nation,” he said. “Obviously we’re going to have to elevate our buildings in the future.”
The property for TISD’s new schools and district stadium is located in the unincorporated portion of Harris County and is therefore subject to the new building codes, likely resulting in the need for additional time for the permitting process, Ross said.
Although the district initially targeted an August 2019 opening for the new elementary school and an August 2020 opening for the junior high school, Ross said the new building requirements have caused about a six-month delay, while it waits for approval from Harris County to proceed with construction.
“I’m not sure how quickly I can get that site plan through Harris County,” he said.
According to a statement, LAN officials estimate the projects will be complete by fall 2021.
In total, the $275 million bond referendum includes construction of two new schools in the southern part of the district, a districtwide athletic stadium, campus facility improvements, additional technology and school buses, land acquisition and site development.