Local schools among state’s most expensive

Cedar Ridge High School
Cedar Ridge High School (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A database made public Monday shows several Central Texas schools were among the state’s most costly to build.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the data showing Round Rock Independent School District’s Cedar Ridge High School, built in 2010, is the 12th most expensive school to build in the state — at almost $79 million in 2013.

Bastrop ISD’s Cedar Creek High School ($62.4M), Georgetown ISD’s East View High School ($58.5M), San Marcos ISD’s San Marcos High School ($58.1M) and Leander ISD’s Rouse High School ($54.1M) and Vandegrift High School ($50.7M) are all in the state’s top 50 most expensive schools to build.

The state’s most expensive school was Burleson ISD’s Centennial High School which was built in 2010 for 1880 students at a cost of approximately $109 Million. The least expensive school  was Hull-Daisetta Junior High School which cost $1.1 Million for a 186 student facility.

Search the database here

The data also breaks down cost-per-square-foot which shows Austin ISD’s Overton Elementary School’s 2007 construction had the 11th most expensive at $222/sq ft. Round Rock’s Cedar Ridge High School also ranked ar $211/sq ft.

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired carried the highest cost-per-student at $101,000 per student for the elementary facility and $85,000 per secondary students.

Jarrell ISD’s high school ranked 8th on the list at $47,000 per student.

Data for transparency

“Currently there is no required standard for reporting school construction costs, so it is extremely difficult for taxpayers to determine how their tax dollars are being spent,” Combs said. “Unfortunately, we encountered numerous obstacles in our efforts to collect consistent, comparable school construction data and taxpayers are entitled to this information.”

Combs’ office released the data in effort to help voters determine how their money is being used when deciding whether or not to support new bond elections.

The Comptroller’s Office also identified several cost-savings measures, or best practices, that it suggests other districts follow. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD near Houston was lauded for using an architectural prototype that can be used for either elementary, middle or high school buildings. The prototype saves the district each time it goes to build a new school.

The data was collected through public records requests and prices were adjusted for inflation and are represented in 2013 dollars.

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