Tomball ISD announced Aug. 17 the district has signed for and officially purchased the 70.45-acre former headquarters of oil service company BJ Services for $39.5 million plus closing costs, paid from the district’s general fund reserves. The former BJ Services campus is located at FM 2920 and Hufsmith-Kohrville Road.

BJ Services filed for bankruptcy in July 2020, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

“The purchase of the former headquarters of BJ Services is a game-changer for Tomball ISD,” Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora said in an Aug. 17 release.

As BJ Services was a major property tax revenue contributor for both the school district and city of Tomball, City Manager David Esquivel said the city will likely see a dip in revenue short term, since the district is a tax-exempt entity. However, Esquivel said TISD yields financial benefits to the city indirectly.

“[TISD’s] outside-of-the-box thinking, and being innovative and proactive is absolutely a great thing for all of us in the community, so I think the indirect attraction for businesses and residential because of the school district is huge,” Esquivel said.

The district is calling the former headquarters its Eastside Complex, funds for the renovation of which are included in a $567.5 million bond package trustees called Aug. 12. The bond package will be broken into five propositions on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Included as part of Proposition A, funds are allotted for one elementary school to be built on the newly purchased property and for renovations to be made at the Eastside Complex, which includes 11 buildings and more than 20 acres for future development, according to the release.

This also includes relocating Tomball Star Academy—an early college high school—to the complex from Tomball High School, according to district information.

Additionally, the district plans to add career and technical education space at the Eastside Complex.

“Adding a large industrial park and cutting edge laboratory space will enable Tomball ISD to expand our Career and Technical Education programs and provide students with the hands-on training and facilities that are representative of those used in industry as well as support our goal of ensuring that students have the technical, academic and employability skills that lead to successful careers,” CTE Director Karla Sandoval said in the release.

Chief Operating Officer Steven Gutierrez said in an interview the Eastside Complex could allow the district to offer a centralized site for programs the district previously has not offered because of the cost to have the CTE program at each high school.

“In the bond we are calling for the renovation of the Eastside Complex to really house some centralized in-demand [CTE] programs,” Gutierrez said. “Think about welding or some of the heavy machinery [programs], the things that would be really cost prohibitive to do at three campuses. Our Eastside Complex is going to afford us the opportunity to provide hands-on, valuable industry experience at one location. Some of it is already equipped and outfitted with that equipment.”

A portion of the Eastside Complex that is undeveloped will house one of two elementary schools included in the bond as well.

“What this complex will provide Tomball ISD, the community, local businesses and students will be like no other, and the acquisition removes countless barriers to innovation and progress within Tomball ISD for the foreseeable future,” Chief Academic Officer Amy Schindewolf said in the Aug. 17 release.