Ninth-grade center approved for Frenship growth

After hearing from a demographer that Frenship High School will be over capacity by 2015, the Frenship Independent School District board of trustees voted to approve an option to temporarily solve FHS’ growth.

The board members unanimously approved the concept of a ninth-grade center to be located “on-site,” meaning within close range of Frenship High School.

Board Vice President David R. Miller asked Assistant Superintendent of Administration Michelle McCord if “on-site” means the ninth-grade school would be within walking distance of FHS.

McCord said it would, possibly on land the district already owns, such as land west of Bennett Elementary School.

She described the addition of a ninth-grade center as a “bandage” on the growth in Frenship ISD.

Bob Templeton of Templeton Demographics gave an update on the district’s population just before McCord addressed the board about the ninth-grade center.

Texas, he said, has regained all jobs lost in the recession. The Lubbock area is “almost fully employed,” with unemployment rates around 5 percent, he said.

New home sales are up in Lubbock, as are sales tax receipts, Templeton said.

And of all those new homes, he said 50 percent of the new home activity is within the Frenship district.

“The Lubbock area is growing,” he said. “This is where families with kids want to be.”

Templeton said that a large demographic is seeking out Frenship and Lubbock-Cooper schools.

The area around Crestview Elementary School has the most growth, but Templeton said there is room to grow around the other schools, as well. The one school that is seeing little growth nearby is Willow Bend Elementary School, where Templeton said there have been “very few completions in the last few years.”

Templeton noted that his company projected enrollment in FISD schools to be 8,013 this year, and it was 8,005.

“We were very pleased that it was that close,” he said.

He said the kindergarten growth this year is of interest, and said it is difficult to forecast how many kindergarten students will show up from year to year because people have become far more mobile than they were in the past. About 20 percent of people move per year, he said.

“Your enrollment growth pattern is likely to continue,” Templeton said, adding that he expects 8,282 students next year.

By 2016, he said he believes FHS will exceed capacity. By 2020, he said he believes Heritage Middle School will exceed capacity.

HMS opened last year. Templeton’s assertion that Frenship’s middle schools will exceed capacity by 2020 drew gasps from the back row of the school board meeting at Casey Administration Building, where some middle school officials were sitting.

The board took no action on the demographic report.

Tim Williams, FISD’s executive director of business operations, recommended continuing to use BGR Architects of Lubbock for future projects.

The board voted unanimously to approve BGR as the architects on future bond election projects.

Williams pointed out that if a future bond election fails, the district will have to pay BGR for any work completed on those projects.

Board members also approved a series of election-related matters setting up a joint election on May 11 with other cities and school districts in Lubbock County. Seats currently occupied by board members Brad Draper and Troy Vanderburg will be up for election.

Members Brad Draper and Scott Stockton were not present.

Board members also approved a consent agenda, which included:

n Minutes of previous meetings

n A financial report

n Personnel recommendations

n Superintendent David Vroonland’s evaluation and contract

n Approval for Vroonland’s employment with Lamar University.

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