AISD approves land for new high school; no timeline for construction

Homes popping up in the Goodnight Ranch development in Southeast Austin (Erin Cargile/KXAN)
Homes popping up in the Goodnight Ranch development in Southeast Austin (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Early Tuesday morning, 12:27 a.m. to be exact, the Austin ISD school board unanimously approved the purchase of land to build a new high school in southeast Austin, along with two pieces of land to expand Bowie High School. The next question is how soon is a new high school is needed and when will it be built?

“I really don’t know for sure,” said Trustee Yasmin Wagner. “I think it’s going to depend on how quickly the developments come online, how quickly families come in.”

The timeline is likely too tight to get a measure on the ballot for a November bond election.

Voters approved the $32 million to buy the land in a 2008 bond election and over the past couple of years board members have said the district needed to get the ball rolling, while others have said “let’s not rush into anything.”

In April of 2015, KXAN did a story on Blazier Elementary in southeast Austin, the most overcrowded campus in the district. It was built for 600 students and at the time had 981 students enrolled. The next fall, AISD moved Pre-K students to the Uphaus Early Childhood Center, which opened up about 100 seats. At the time, Principal Leti Pena told KXAN projections over the next three to four years showed the population at Blazier could be up to 1,200 students.

Today, Blazier has a student population of 811 students. A handful of new homes have popped up across the street in the new 700-acre Goodnight Ranch subdivision. The signs of construction are only the beginning of a much larger plan to build 3,800 homes in the next ten to fifteen years.

Lana Anderson and her family is one of the first to buy in the new development. They are set to move-in this weekend.

“We just thought the whole plan itself was a fabulous plan because it’s being modeled after the Mueller development downtown,” said Anderson.

The massive development is the driving force behind Austin ISD looking to buy up nearly 65 acres in the subdivision for a new high school. Board members have said Akins High School does not have the capacity to handle the future growth.

While board members do not have a timeline, Anderson has been told the goal is to have all 3,800 homes built in the next ten to fifteen years. That’s about the time her 4-year-old daughter will be in high school.

She knew there was talk about a future South Austin high school, but had no idea a new campus could be coming right around the corner.

“It’s refreshing,” said Anderson. “It’s good to know that…it makes me feel great about my home purchase.”

Click here for more details on the three tracts of land AISD is purchasing.

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