TISD board approves Junior High School No. 4 name, zoning changes

New junior high attendance boundaries were discussed during the Feb. 10 board of trustees workshop and approved unanimously Feb. 11. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
New junior high attendance boundaries were discussed during the Feb. 10 board of trustees workshop and approved unanimously Feb. 11. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

New junior high attendance boundaries were discussed during the Feb. 10 board of trustees workshop and approved unanimously Feb. 11. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

Tomball ISD's fourth junior high school will be named Grand Lakes Junior High School, board members decided Feb. 11.

Rosehill Lakes Junior High School was also considered as the name of Junior High School No. 4, but the amended motion to name the school as such failed 3-2 with trustees Mark Lewandowski and John McStravick supporting the name and trustees Kathy Handler, Lee McLeod and Justin Unser opposing the name. President Michael Pratt was absent from the meeting.

“I could easily flip a quarter and be just as happy as everywhere else," said Vice President Matt Schiel, who led the Feb. 11 meeting in Pratt's absence and abstained from the vote on the amended motion.

The new school, funded by the district's $275 million bond referendum voters approved in November 2017, will be located alongside Grand Oaks Elementary School and a district stadium within the Elmer and Dorothy Beckendorf Educational Complex at Cypress Rosehill Road and the Grand Parkway.

“We can either honor a community that is a historic community, or we can honor a toll road, and I would rather honor a community," Lewandowski said during the meeting.

Unser motioned to name the new school Grand Lakes, and McStravick amended the motion to suggest naming the school Rosehill Lakes.

“I think if we didn’t already have something named Rosehill that it would make perfect sense, but I think it’s going to be confusing because as we discussed last night the people that go to Rosehill Elementary, they’re not going to go to Rosehill Lakes Junior High," Handler said during the meeting.

However, Lewandowski said he believes the feeder patterns are well defined and would eliminate any confusion from the similar Rosehill names.

“The name Grand Lakes is not meant to in any way take away from that fantastic community [in Rosehill]," Unser said. "I think it was just more around a theme for the [educational complex] that we have there.”

After the amended motion failed, trustees unanimously approved naming the new school Grand Lakes Junior High School.

Zoning changes

Grand Lakes is anticipated to open in August 2021, at which time new junior high attendance boundaries will take effect, according to district information. The TISD board of trustees approved new junior high boundaries in the southern portion of the district Feb. 11 after taking no action in December on boundaries recommended by the TISD District Zone Committee.

Pratt expressed his concern during the December board of trustees workshop that not enough students were moving from the Willow Wood Junior High zone to the new junior high school zone under the initial plan proposed by the committee, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. As such, the committee adjusted the targeted enrollment for Willow Wood to fewer than 1,000 students in 2021-22 and crafted a new plan, which committee members shared with the board Feb. 10.

“The numbers came back; it’s perfect; it’s what we wanted. It’s a hard job," Schiel said to the committee. "I don’t want to be in your shoes. I’d rather vote ['aye'] for it than do all that work.”

Under the approved plan, Grand Lakes would enroll 844 students its first year with Tomball Junior High School enrolling 801 students and Willow Wood Junior High School enrolling 867 students in 2021-22, according to district enrollment projections. Grand Lakes will have a capacity of 1,500 students, making it larger than Willow Wood's building capacity of 1,200 students, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

“We feel confident in the next five to six years in the projected enrollment at all of the junior high schools," said Shelley Gifford, a parent representing Rosehill Elementary on the committee, during a Feb. 10 board workshop.

The board approved the new junior high boundaries unanimously. The approved boundary for Grand Lakes closely follows the approved boundary for Grand Oaks Elementary School—which trustees approved in December—as well as shifts for residences within the existing Canyon Pointe Elementary zone to attend Grand Lakes Junior High School to further alleviate the overcrowded Willow Wood Junior High School, Gifford said. The Enclave at Northpointe—a piece of Lakes at Northpointe—is also regrouped with the neighborhood at the junior high level, all of which will remain at Willow Wood Junior High, according to district information.

The junior high boundary realignment means Grand Lakes will be the first campus in the district to include students bound for both Tomball and Tomball Memorial high schools.

"This is a place where truly you're going to see team Tomball on display as we work through this growth period where we don't have that clean feeder pattern for the high school," Chief Operating Officer Stephen Gutierrez said during a Feb. 6 committee meeting.

About 13% of initial students at Grand Lakes will be within the existing Tomball High School boundary, while 87% will attend Tomball Memorial High School, Gutierrez said Feb. 6.

"We will have no one feeling like the [Tomball Memorial] Wildcats have more voice," Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora said Feb. 6. "This will not be a school divided."

View the approved junior high boundaries and projected enrollment below.
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball | Magnolia & Conroe | Montgomery

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 for the Tomball|Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these 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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