AISD votes Monday on purchase of 3 land tracts for new high school, Bowie overcrowding

FILE AISD's Bowie High School (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)
FILE - AISD's Bowie High School (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday, Austin Independent School District trustees are expected to approve the purchase of three different pieces of land in South Austin to build a new high school, and expand an existing one.

First, the district is considering paying $13.1 million for a 64.9-acre tract in the Goodnight Ranch Subdivision in Southeast Austin on Old Lockhart Highway. The site would eventually be home to a new high school.

The nearest high school in that area, Akins, is already overcrowded and will not be able to handle the growth coming with the development of 3,800 homes in Goodnight Ranch.

Voters approved $32 million in bond dollars to purchase land purchase land for a South Austin high school nearly a decade ago — in 2008.

With the remainder of the money, the district wants to buy two other tracts of land adjacent to Bowie High School to expand the overcrowded campus.

One tract is 39.8 acres on West Slaughter Lane, which will cost $2.5 million, and the other tract is 12.9 acres on Sawmill Drive, at a cost of $1.25 million.

Bowie High School is in Trustee Yasmin Wagner’s district. She recognizes the decisions have been stalled in past, and has made it her mission since joining the board in 2015 to kick it into high gear.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating to wait, and I really see the frustration that community has had in waiting for so long for a solution to be delivered,” said Wagner. “So I’m thrilled that we’re finally able to do that.”

The 2008 bond money will only cover the land purchases. Voters will have to approve additional bond dollars for the design and construction on both projects.

These purchases are part of the district’s long-term Facilities Master Plan. The district continued to get the word out Saturday about potential changes coming. AISD hosted a community basketball tournament at LBJ High School in east Austin; and alongside the hoops, officials provided information for parents about the plan.

Recommendations for LBJ include moving LASA, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, to another location, modernizing the LBJ campus and doubling the school’s student capacity from 900 to more than 1,800.

“There really are going to be a lot of changes that come to Austin that could change the density of different areas,” said AISD Community Engagement Coordinator Chelsea Brass. “And, so, this is why this particular plan is updated every two years — so that we might have a plan today and that could change in two years should those demographics change.”

A new healthcare program is also launching at LBJ next year, allowing students to start working toward nursing degrees in high school.

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