New Tomball ISD junior high opening delayed to August 2021; board approves bond project costs

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Tomball ISD Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora confirmed April 10 in a letter to TISD families the opening of the district’s fourth junior high school will be delayed from August 2020 to August 2021. A groundbreaking for the new school has been complicated by delays in land acquisition, revised building code regulations in Harris County after Hurricane Harvey and county building permits, Salazar-Zamora wrote.

“We understand that this news may be challenging to hear, and we join you in the frustration this delay causes,” she wrote in the letter. “However, we assure you that we take every major construction project very seriously and know that in order to build the new junior high school to the standard we expect in this district, more time is needed.”

The junior high school will be part of an educational and athletic complex near Grand Parkway and Cypress Rosehill Road, all of which is funded by the district $275 million bond referendum approved by voters in November 2017. The complex will also feature an elementary school and a district athletic stadium as well as water and wastewater treatment plants, according to district information.

The junior high school will draw students from Willow Wood Junior High School.

“In the meantime, we are fully aware and understand that Willow Wood Junior High School’s enrollment continues to increase and that there are concerns about the campus’ capacity and the potential impact that may have on the student population,” Salazar-Zamora wrote in the letter.

The district plans to add portable classroom space, add fine arts staff, offer additional coaching stipends for additional athletics teams and evaluate lunch periods at Willow Wood, according to the letter.

At an April 9 meeting, the TISD board of trustees authorized Salazar-Zamora to approve construction-related contracts for several 2017 bond projects—including the maximum construction cost allowable for the new junior high school. Trustees approved construction of an elementary school not to exceed $21.115 million, construction of a junior high school not to exceed $43.26 million, construction of a district stadium not to exceed $42.23 million, site development expenses not to exceed $37 million, and construction of wastewater and water treatment plants not to exceed $6.825 million, according to meeting information.

The junior high school will mirror Creekside Park Junior High, while the elementary school will mirror Wildwood Elementary School, Salazar-Zamora said during an April 8 workshop.

The board also approved the lease and installation of five portable buildings, totaling $225,836; renovations of the Tomball High School auditorium theater by BATTS Audio, Video and Lighting, totaling $554,401; and a $136,650 proposal for land clearing by Generocity Services for the Tomball High School agricultural science project center. The projects are all funded by the 2017 bond referendum.

The board of trustees will next meet at 5:30 p.m. May 14 at 310 S. Cherry St., Tomball, for a regular meeting.

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Anna Lotz
Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.
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