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Killeen's 5th high school?

That’s one idea as school board discusses growth, aging facilities

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KISD Career Center

While the Killeen Independent School District will be opening a new elementary and middle school in August, school board members said this week the need for a new high school is on the horizon.

One idea brought up this week: Turn KISD’s Career Center — which already has more than 1,500 high school students — into the district’s fifth high school.

The issue was raised by KISD Board Member Corbett Lawler, who asked during Tuesday’s board meeting whether the Career Center at 1320 Stagecoach Road, should be expanded and turned into a fifth high school instead of remaining a specialty campus.

“I want to advise that we don’t ignore the elephant in the room, which is whether we need a fifth high school,” Lawler said. “We need to consider what we want this career center to be when the fifth high school is opened because we know that the need for the fifth high school is coming.”

It was all part of discussions on aging facilities and future needs board members had during the meeting.

With the constant growth of KISD, the district will soon be approaching a crossroad for major decisions on how to expand in the near future.

Building an all-new high school could cost upwards of $100 million, KISD Superintendent John Craft said in December. However, if the district converts the Career Center into the fifth high school, it could lessen the cost.

Three of the four KISD high schools are over enrollment capacity, and all four high schools use portable buildings to handle the ever-growing student population.

Enrollment projections presented by KISD demographer Jeff Heckthorn on Tuesday are consistent with the growth of the area and are expected to have a slight increase in 2017-2018.

Student enrollment numbers are expected to reach 44,201 in the next school year, which will be about a 0.84 percent increase from last year’s projected enrollment of 43,954.

“While these numbers are somewhat conservative, we believe they are reliable,” Craft said Tuesday.

The Career Center expansion plan is one of the major discussions items board members addressed on Tuesday.

The center has seen tremendous growth since its opening in 2012. The center has 1,578 students; the campus opened with just 647.

The Career Center is at about 85 percent of capacity and will need a large expansion at the rate of growth it is seeing, officials said.

An expansion plan for the Career Center, presented to the board Tuesday, includes five new parking lots, a new student congregation area, a safe pedestrian walkway to the Stagecoach Road crossing point, expansion of the dining area, new classrooms, a laboratory expansion and other additions.

Craft said all of the classrooms at the center are being used now.

KISD’s Executive Director of Facility Services Kenny Crawford is spearheading the Career Center expansion plan.

The board took no action on the expansion plan Tuesday. It could come up again at the board’s next meeting Feb. 21.

Board President Terry Delano said the board will need a price projection estimate before the board makes any decision on the plan.

Aging facilities

While the district plans for expansion, there is a need to renovate older buildings in KISD as well.

According to Crawford, some buildings within KISD may be in jeopardy of having faulty roofs within the next few years.

Seventeen buildings will be 50 years or older by June 2018. According to Crawford, 50 years is the typical threshold for buildings before the need for roof renovations and reconstruction.

The Daily Herald requested from KISD a list of the 17 buildings, but it was not made available by late Thursday.

The school board will consider how and when to renovate those buildings in future meetings.

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(6) comments


Marketing strategies for school enrollment should be considered as one of the plans.


This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Killeen patriot: I feel your argument is totally invalid. You ask if a portable building would/could house a shop facility, a beauty or cosmetology facility, or a construction facility/area, and my answer is' 'yes they can all be accompanied in a portable or prefab building. And in answer to your questioning Asqaud5: I don't know if he is familiar with the location of the complex and I can tell you that 'in my opinion', that is the worst part of south west Killeen that I could envision placing a complex like this. You state 'What about the children from all of these other schools, what would be done for them'??? The answer to that question is 'Bus them as that's what is being done now'. Do you think that a child right now and attending the complex from Klleen high, lives in the northern section of Killeen 'walks to and from the school each day??? No they are bused and that is expensive.
As to your statement about portable buildings not being accessible to all shops and cosmetology. The portable or prefab building that would be available would be insulated, air conditioned, have classes for shops, large doors for shop/construction endeavors, and all of the other amenities. I am of the opinion that a workable site could be found for the complex, but I still have the same reservation and that is 'if this complex is converted to a 5th high school, I think it would/could serve as a district school, butt what would be built in it's stead??? I believe in all stretches of the imagination it could then be located in a more suitable centralized location, but I would suggest that it be in a modular configuration for the aforementioned lines of thought.
As for the concept: 'which places a large emphasis on career and technical education to meet the requirements for graduation', I am not a strong supporter of 'being career and technical orientation as it will put the emphasis on career and technical in lieu of college orientation. You put a child in the classroom environment and when they reach their senior years, some if not many would opt for 'learning a trade' instead of continuing their education. They want to go to work and get a job. Look at what the school has now for growth, being opened in 2012 with 647 students and now has 1578 students. 10 or 15 years from now, what are these students of the center going to be saying; boy I just wished that I studied and applied myself and went to college, at least junior college. Now that's not to say 'everyone would say these things', but I can imagine 'some of them would'.
One of the few who voted.

Killeen patriot

Converting the KISD Career Center to a fifth high school would be a horrible idea. The texas legislature passed house bill 5 several years ago which places a large emphasis on career and technical education to meet the requirements for graduation. How are you going to put automotive class into a portable building? How about welding or construction? Can you put an entire cosmotology school or seven different health science courses into portable buildings? At which high school would you only put those programs? So if welding is put at Shoemaker, then does that mean Ellison, Killeen, and Heights students are just our of luck? If you look at the school districts across Texas you will see that more and more districts are developing a centralized Career and Technical campus. This gives the best opportunity for all of the students within that district to take part in the courses offered. The district just needs to realize that it is time for a 5th high school. They have been playing around with the idea for some time with resistance from certain board members. We need it so let's build it.


This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Asquaid5: I'm here.
To me, it's trying to squeeze 5# of slime into a 4 bucket, it just is not feasible.
The idea of yours is one consideration, but if the KSID Career Center when the population is 85% full and the expected to rise 0.84%, and all of the work that the Career Center is panning on doing, Is it to the point we will suffer diminishing returns on the money we will spend? Also, what is the school loading regarding how many students require busing and where are they located??? To me it makes no sense to bus hundreds of children great distances. One it cost money to engage in busing, and two what about the children and the effects it will have on them.
What would be the cost of converting this specialty school to a full fledged high school and then if we do consider this option, what would be the likely hood of the school board spending the money for conversion and then within the next few years wanting to another specialty school???
What is the present demography and the likely hood of growth in the Killeen area???
These are questions that one should ask before contemplating what is/should be done.
Another question should be raised; what is the 'older building in KSID' and what is to be done to these buildings??? Are there plans to renovate these 50 odd buildings, or is it contemplated that these buildings 'are too old o refurbish'??? What is the plan to take care of the: High school problem, the 50 odd state of repair of the older buildings???
How does he state of repair figure into the need for a new high school???
These are questions I would be inclined to ask.
One of the few who voted.


"Another possibility would be to turn the Career and Technology campus (over by Patterson MS...I think) into a high school. All those portables on the campuses can be career and tech. This way all 4 high schools can have their own CATE in a way."

I so said that when a similar article was posted and my idea was shot down by another comment. Its not a bad idea at all. Like the article'll lower the costs. Sure you'll have to add an athletics and fine arts wing, but that wouldn't cost $100 million.

I love the idea of converting to a new high school. It worked with Shoemaker and Harker Heights, why not now??

Alvin where you at man [smile]???

Killeen patriot

ASquad5: have you seen the location of the career center? where would you put an athletics field. Also, see my previous comment. Where would you put the career and technical classes? would that limit the number of students who can take those classes. Have you ever been inside the career center? how would you convert the automotive, welding, and construction shops into classroom space. What about the millions of dollars of equipment that is located within this building? where would you move it? Shoemaker and Harker Heights were converted career centers? I for one will gladly pay my share for a 5th high school.

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