HISD trustees hear demographics report that reveals scope of future growth at meeting Thursday

Close to 13,000 students could be enrolled in Hutto ISD classrooms 10 years from now, according to a projections report from a demographics firm that was presented to the district's board of trustees at its meeting Thursday night.

That figure would represent an increase of approximately 5,500 students for HISD following the full build-out and development of thousands of planned lots across the district's boundaries.

Templeton Demographics, an ISD enrollment forecasting firm hired by HISD, projected that most of the relevant development in Hutto will happen in areas north of Hwy. 79.

Cottonwood Ranch, Cottonwood Creek, Siena Homes, Star Ranch and Hutto Square are the top five neighborhoods, in order, in terms of future lots available for housing development. In all, there are approximately 1,000 lots available to build on and more than 1,200 future lots planned in HISD's zone.

The Cottonwood Creek Elementary zone by itself has 1,983 future lots, the most in HISD.

Trent Smith, consultant for Templeton Demographics, pointed out the projected enrollment numbers could have actually been higher.

"We were expecting to grow much more, but we saw a dramatic drop in child per household in the district," Smith said.

Smith explained to board members that the next generation of first-time homebuyers–millennials–are having children at a lower rate than previous generations.

The report from Templeton pointed to a handful of contributing economic factors for the boom in housing development and enrollment numbers, such as a 4.1 percent job growth rate in the Austin-area.

Smith also referenced Round Rock's new UPS distribution center and Hutto's upcoming Co-Op District development as attractions that potentially draw homebuyers to the district.

In the short term, Templeton Demographics projects enrollment to top 8,000 students by 2019. By 2023, it is expected HISD will have 9,736 enrolled across its campuses, an increase of more than 2,400 students.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.