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.
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.