By Wendy Gragg
Killeen Daily Herald
Fill them up before building a new one is the Killeen school districts latest facilities philosophy.
The Killeen school board Tuesday continued piecing together the puzzle of the districts Strategic Facilities Plan, driven by the idea of optimizing current facilities before adding a new campus to the districts roster.
With the heat of growth cooling down a little, the Killeen Indepen-dent School District is taking a second look at its plans for future schools.
To save money and save the district from overbuilding, board members are urging administration to find ways to make the most of the campuses that exist before investing in new ones.
Trustee Mike Helm said having no Instructional Facilities Allotment funds makes optimizing existing facilities an even bigger priority.
Fort Hood schools are at the top of the districts list for streamlining and optimizing. Bound and determined to replace the aging Meadows Elementary School, board members seemed to agree on a midsize campus with an 850-student capacity.
District officials havent abandoned their idea of a 1,000-student Meadows, though. Helm suggested putting the 850-student school on a 1,000-capacity infrastructure, making it easily renovatable if an addition is needed.
The midsize Meadows, with room for expansion, would eliminate the need for a primary school to be built adjacent to Clarke Elementary on post.
KISD may also be able to stave off the need for a new elementary school across the highway off Clear Creek Road.
Where were going to need it is further south, said superintendent Dr. Jim Hawkins.
KISD demographer Jeff Heckathorn told the board that the way he sees it, the district may not have to build as quickly if it uses existing facilities.
Pershing Park Elementary School will lose students living north of 190 who will be attending Venable Village Elementary instead. Pershing Park could then pick up some of Iduma Elementarys students, relieving that new, but crowded Killeen school.
If the board then moved forward with a 200-student capacity addition to Iduma, that school could handle additional students in its own burgeoning attendance zone off of Clear Creek Road.
The board continues to entertain various attendance zone scenarios, produced by Heckathorn. Fowler and Haynes elementary schools, which district officials had considered closing, are even back in the mix for now.
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