As the Killeen Independent School District continues to grow, the school board and district administration are faced with the task of ensuring the district’s facilities keep up with the projected population increase.
Tuesday the Killeen ISD board of trustees met to compare transportation options to keep pace with the growing needs of the district.
The existing Main Transportation Facility, at 2301 Atkinson Ave., is at capacity, according to the district, with a total of 240 buses parked at the site. On the south side of town, the Sheridan Transportation Facility, located at 9132 Trimmier Road, is also at capacity, according to the district, with 110 buses parked at that location.
Jason Andrus, of Huckabee architecture firm, and Richard Underwood, of Kimley-Horn engineering, presented the school board with five-, 10-, and 20-year transportation facility plans to include various expansion options and an optimization of bus routes on Tuesday.
The district is projecting a population growth of 1.2 percent, a decrease from the district’s 1.5 percent growth rate in years past, through the 2025-26 school year, according to the Huckabee study.
“While this is slower than the historical growth rate from 2007 to 2018 of 1.5 percent, the projected growth is focused in the southern half of the district, closer to the Sheridan Facility,” the report states.
A 2019 transportation audit found the district’s Sheridan facility to lack adequate space to store parts, supplies, shop management, administrative office space, maintenance bays, parking spots and restrooms, according to the study.
“Without a plan to address these issues, the changing pattern of student population growth in KISD will require more use of the Sheridan facility and exacerbate the existing problems with its effectiveness and efficiency,” according to the Huckabee report.
According to the report, the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization (KTMPO) estimates the region will add more than 206,000 people and 105,000 jobs by 2045. Within the boundaries of Killeen ISD, KTMPO predicts approximately 59,000 new residents will live in 29,000 new households by 2045.
“Populations and households will continue to be more densely clustered in the city of Killeen, but as new development is built to accommodate additional residents, growth in population is anticipated to shift east to Harker Heights and Nolanville and south toward the Lampasas River and Stillhouse Hollow Lake,” the Huckabee study states.
Expand or Build
The choice before the school board is whether the district should opt to expand the Sheridan facility or construct a third new bus barn on land the district has yet to acquire.
“Right now, we have 340 buses, but in 2039 the district needs to be planning for roughly 495 to 500 buses, so there’s a significant growth anticipated to be happening here over the next 20 years,” Underwood told the board Tuesday.
The recommendation of Underwood, Andrus, and district administration is for Killeen ISD to expand the Sheridan facility rather than build a new transportation facility from scratch.
“It’s not as efficient from an annual cost savings perspective to open a separate third facility as it is to grow Sheridan,” Director of Facility Services Adam Rich told the board.
Superintendent John Craft laid out the district’s recommendation shortly thereafter.
“I’ll rip the Band-aid off, Our recommendation is going to be to look at expanding the Sheridan facility,” Craft said to the board, adding “We just don’t have the site.”
Board president JoAnn Purser joked the district should start looking for “40 acres.”
“In a dream world, we would have four facilities and everybody would just kind of spread from there, but we may only be able to afford two facilities that are really efficient in making sure we’re prepared for growth,” Purser said.
According to the study, the district could stand to save millions of dollars over the course of 20 years in “deadhead mileage” — miles buses drive without students to get from one place to another — and operating costs if the district opts to expand the Sheridan facility.
“Based on existing operating costs per mile, shifting buses to Sheridan facility in a manner that optimally distributes the fleet between the Main and Sheridan facilities would save a projected $6.65 million in operating costs over the next 20 years,” the study states.
The transportation facility plans were not voted on during Tuesday’s board workshop but will come back for further review at an upcoming board meeting.
In addition to the transportation facility plans, the district is also reviewing two additional construction projects.
During the April 20 workshop, Craft told the board the district is weighing the possibility of moving the staff from 200 North W.S. Young Drive, the district’s administration building, into a renovated Nolan Middle School or a new build on the site of the old Clifton Park Elementary, both in south-central Killeen.
“It’s pretty evident we’ve outgrown the board room,” Craft said during the April 20 workshop. “We think that with Nolan Middle School and the move from Clifton Park, there are two viable options we’d like to bring to the board to consider.”
The move, he said, would allow the district to consolidate its administrative employees who are currently spread throughout the city in various locations.
The second project Craft mentioned would be a possible renovation of Sugar Loaf Elementary to allow the relocation of the Gateway program.
“We’d like to not have a Gateway program, but the way the Texas Education Code is written I don’t know if we’d ever find ourselves in that position,” Craft said. “So potentially looking at relocating Gateway to a renovated Sugar Loaf is also a process we’d like to look into.”