City council

Killeen Independent School District can now move forward with plans for the district’s sixth high school.

Amid a flurry of recent discussions about Chaparral Road, the Killeen City Council approved the Killeen ISD request for rezoning at its regular meeting Tuesday.

KISD had submitted a request to rezone approximately 67.506 acres northeast of the intersection of Chaparral Road and Cedar Ridge Circle, for the future site of the district’s sixth high school.

The land was previously zoned “A”, or Agricultural District. However, in order for a school to be constructed, it needed to be rezoned to “R-1”, or Single-Family Residential.

The Council voted 6 to 0 in favor of approving the request. Councilwoman Shirley Fleming had an excused absence from the meeting.

The new school will feed onto Chaparral Road, a two-lane thoroughfare primarily owned by Bell County that has been the focus of concern by city of Killeen officials.

Residents has complained that two sharp curves on the road are a safety hazard. Now, with the plans to build a high school, which the district said will house more than 2,000 students and cost about $171 million, the road needs to be expanded and improved, something for which neither the City or KISD seem to have the immediate funding.

Regardless, the rezoning signifies the next step in the plans for the school district’s development on Chaparral Road, as construction will move forward on the new high school.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted to offer a resolution of support for tax credit applications for two proposed affordable housing developments.

At last week’s workshop, Leslie Hinkle, executive director of community development, presented five potential housing developments that were seeking the city’s support. However, one since withdrew its application, and the council was left with four to consider Tuesday.

The Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs administers a competitive housing tax credit program for community housing projects. The project applications are rated, and approved applications for housing tax credits are ultimately sold to investors in exchange for cash equity in the development. Typically, only one application per region is approved by the TDHCA.

Councilman Butch Menking opened the discussion with a proposal to support Edgewood Villas, a proposed development that would be constructed in northeast Killeen near North 60th and Bills Road.

“I’ve looked at all the projects, and I think that they’re all worthy,” Menking said. “However, Edgewood is in a part of town that we’ve talked about needing to build up, and I think it would serve the community well.”

However, Councilman Gregory Johnson asked that the council open up the scope of support to give the city a bigger chance at having a property approved.

“I would like to see the council support all four,” Johnson said. “I would rather have a project on the west side of town than not have one at all.”

Ultimately, Councilman Kilpatrick moved that the council support two projects, the Villas at Robinett, which would be located at the southeast corner of Robinett and W. Elms, and Edgewood Villas.

The council voted 6 to 0 in favor of the motion.

Also on the agenda Tuesday was the proposal to award a contract to Gary W. Purser Construction Ltd. for the construction of the South Water Supply Project.

Bell County Water Control and Improvements District No. 1 is currently building a new water treatment plant at Stillhouse Hollow Lake and a large transmission main to deliver 10 MGD of treated water to the City of Killeen. This project has an estimated completion date of Spring 2020. The WCID No. 1 water transmission main will end near the intersection of Trimmier and Chaparral. The City needs to provide the infrastructure to deliver this water from that location to the City’s current water distribution system. On Feb. 14, 2017, Freese & Nichols, Inc. (FNI) was awarded a Professional Service Agreement to design the South Water Supply Project (SWS). Their agreement included the design, bid and construction management services for a 3 MG elevated ground storage tank, an 8 MGD pump station, approximately 32,100 LF of 20-inch and 30-inch pipeline, and associated appurtenances. The construction of the SWS project is divided into a total of four phases.

The work represented by this bid for construction is Phase 1: approximately 3,000 linear feet of 20-inch water line along the south side of Chaparral Road.

The city received five bids for the project, with Purser providing the lowest bid at $562,675.98, approximately $38,000 lower than the next bid.

The city has done work with the company before, and council members agreed that there had been no problems in the past.

However, Councilman Johnson expressed concern during discussions that there was only a one-year warranty offered for the project.

“I want to see the taxpayers get better bang for their buck with a three- or five-year warranty,” Johnson said Tuesday.

Councilman Juan Rivera stated that he had called the Texas Department of Transportation in Waco, and was told that a one-year warranty was common practice for similar infrastructure projects.

The council voted 4 to 2 in favor of awarding the bid, with Johnson and Councilman Steve Harris voting in opposition because of the one-year warranty.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the council also voted 6 to 0 in favor of awarding a bid to Unified Services of Texas for updated security surveillance equipment for Robert Gray Army Airfield.

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