Tomball ISD recently put together a steering committee last October to look at ways the growing district could prepare for current and future needs. That committee presented its findings to the public during a recent public forum.
"The growth we are experiencing now requires us to look towards future needs, as well as maintaining what assets we have now," said steering committee chair Rick Pritchett.
Charged by the school board with that goal, the committee identified several areas which they studied. They included new schools, a way to take care of current facilities and capital improvements, new technologies and transportation.
When it comes to future growth, the committee will recommend four new campuses be built, at a cost of around $110 million. New schools recommended are a new elementary school and junior high in The Woodlands, as well as a new fifth and sixth grade campus and a new elementary on the districts south side.
The need for these schools is based on projections in growth through the 2018-19 school year.
"The growth we have experienced in the district has primarily been in the northeast and south side of the district," Pritchett said.
The committee also looked at ways to improve and maintain current schools, as well as improvements in technology and transportation. The improvements the committee will recommend in those areas are estimated to cost around $58 million.
"We have to provide for and take care of the assets we have, as well as provide new technology for the students and keep up with our transportation needs," Pritchett said.
Security was also a big factor for the committee. Pritchett explained that several campuses have their administrative offices located away from the front entrance, causing security concerns. The committee recommended that those campuses add a security vestibule at the front entrances.
The committee will present their findings and recommendations to the school board at a meeting Feb. 11. The board will then look at options to fund the recommendations that it approves of, which could include a future bond election.
Pritchett did say that all totals are only estimates at this point, but the district would avoid going over a tax rate of five cents per $100 valuation.
"We are fortunate here that we have a board that is not only passionate about education, but also financially savvy and skillful," he said.
The board will take some time after Monday's meeting to get community input on the proposal, before deciding on whether to hold a bond election. They will decide that during their March meeting.