“Our kids are your kids.”
Several Leander City Council members shared the sentiment for partnership as they hosted the Leander ISD Board of Trustees for a joint meeting to discuss growth, roads, athletic fields, and emergency management Tuesday night.
The city of Leander, which includes 18 of the 43 schools currently in LISD (and most of the planned future schools), discussed multi-family housing during the discussion on the district’s annual demographic report.
“The new Apple plant is only 8 miles away,” Leander Mayor Troy Hill said. “When you look at the availability of land, it’s Leander. We know growth is coming.”
The city will add between 4,000 – 5,000 apartment units in the next four years around the Cap Metro station and the Austin Community College (ACC) San Gabriel campus, Hill said. According to Population and Survey Analysts (PASA), the district’s third-party research partner, the district estimates those units will bring between 1,200 and 1,500 students.
“The situation that has been most challenging in the past has been where large, multi-family complexes are built in areas we didn’t expect them to be,” said LISD Board Vice President Aaron Johnson. “When those complexes are built in locations that we believe to be fairly stable, that stresses our zoning pretty quickly.”
As for single-family homes, LISD Chief Facilities Officer Jimmy Disler presented the following list as the largest growing subdivisions in the next 10 years, including three in Leander:
- Travisso, 2,178 students;
- Bryson, 1,132 students;
- Larkspur, 700 students;
- Deerbrooke, 699 students; and
- Orchard Ridge, 578 students.
PASA reported the city of Leander will add 19,275 new single-family housing units over the next 10 years, accounting for roughly 43 percent of the growth in LISD. For single-family homes, the average ratio of students to unit is 0.62 versus 0.30 for apartment units.
With growth comes roads.
The city provided updates on two major road projects from its 2016 bond program that directly impacts schools: the Raider Way expansion and the San Gabriel Parkway extension.
The city is still securing rights-of-way property to expand Raider Way, the road connecting Crystal Falls Parkway to Wiley Middle School and Rouse High School, city engineer Wayne Watts said. Based on current designs for the expansion, they expect the project to start construction by June and continue for up to 24 months.
“There will always be two lanes available during construction of this project,” Watts said. “It’s not going to be pretty, particularly the first three weeks of school. But when we get it done, it’s going to be great.”
The Raider Way improvement project will address traffic flow and traffic safety, particularly during arrivals and departures from both schools, according to the city’s website. The city will widen both Raider Way and E. Woodview Drive to a four-lane roadway with a curb and a wide sidewalk. The project also includes an intersection roundabout, additional lighting and turn lanes.
The San Gabriel Parkway expansion from County Road 270 to Ronald Reagan Boulevard will provide additional access points for the district’s 45th school, Tarvin Elementary School, scheduled to open in 2021–22. The city is currently constructing one of three planned phases of the extension project, and funding for the remaining phases have been discussed as part of the city’s overall capital improvement program. Watts said the city expects to complete the roadway expansion before the new school opens.
“We are so thankful for this opportunity to meet with the city of Leander,” Board President Trish Bode said. “We will have to keep this meeting on the calendar because as we are growing as rapidly as we are, we can’t afford not to have conversations.”