Sunday, May 26, 2024

Little room for growth

SISD hears space utilization report from architect firm


SPRINGTOWN — Goshen Creek Elementary School and Springtown Elementary School have surpassed functional capacity, and Springtown Intermediate School is nearing capacity, according to a report from the architectural and engineering firm Huckabee.

Huckabee principal Aubrey Moses presented a space utilization report to the Springtown Independent School District board of trustees during the board’s March 25 meeting. The goal of the study was to determine which of the district’s six campuses are at capacity, nearing capacity or have room for growth. This was determined using enrollment numbers at each school, the maximum capacity set by the Texas Education Agency and functional capacity, which is about 75-90% of the maximum. Portable buildings are not included as part of the maximum capacity since they aren’t permanent.

“We're going to be talking about maximum capacity, and that's the total number of seats in the facility. If every seat were filled at the same time, that's the number of students that could fit in each campus,” Moses said. “But we know that's not reality, so that's why we're also looking at functional capacity. When you're taking into account the flexibility of schedules, we know that not every classroom is full every minute of the day. And so, at an elementary level, ideally, you want to be around 90% of your max capacity, and then for secondary education, it’s standard to be around 75% of your maximum capacity.”

In summary, Moses revealed that Goshen Creek Elementary School with an enrollment count of 693 students has surpassed its functional capacity of 630 students and is nearing the maximum of 700.

“There's a lot of makeshift spaces where your resource and intervention classrooms, they're meeting in the hallways; they’re meeting in storage closets because y’all are just out of space at this campus,” Moses said about Goshen Creek. “There are also four portable buildings that have eight classrooms on this one, and six out of the eight classrooms are being used for instruction right now, so you're already overflowing into temporary facilities.”

Moses said the campus’ administrators reported needing space for small group instruction, storage since the current storage space is being used for small classes, and more restrooms for staff and students.

“The other challenge is there is just not room to support additional growth at this campus,” she said.

Similarly, Springtown Elementary School has an enrollment of 687 kids but a functional capacity of 675 and a maximum of 750. Moses said multiple classrooms are undersized by TEA’s standards. Some areas are used for storage but would need renovations to become classrooms, and there are full-sized classrooms being used for small groups. The elementary school’s administration also requested more restrooms.

Moses noted that parts of Springtown Elementary School are used for daycare and central administration, but those spaces were not included in the report on the campus’ capacity.

“Just know if you were to ever repurpose any of that space, move those out, there is room for Springtown Elementary itself to grow into those spaces,” she said.

The intermediate school is expected to be over capacity by next year with a current enrollment of 624 students, a functional capacity of 642 and a maximum of 856. Moses said there is no room for growth at this school.

“All classrooms are being used eight out of nine periods a day,” she said. “They are running incredibly efficient at this campus.”

Again, classrooms are undersized at the intermediate school, and administrators requested more restrooms, Moses said. Some unique challenges include fine arts spaces and administrative offices being spread over the campus, which isn’t as efficient as it could be. Also, some classrooms used for special education and intervention are oversized and could be renovated to get the right size and create more space. Moses also said the locker rooms could be reconstructed for more space.

Reno Elementary School is the campus with the most room to grow and isn’t expected to be over capacity within the next 10 years, while the middle and high schools aren’t projected to go over capacity until the end of the decade, according to Moses’ report. For Springtown Middle School, Moses said there is a need for more restrooms, classrooms are undersized and administrative offices are spread out throughout the building.

For the high school, Moses said space and furniture specific to career and technical education programs is lacking.

“A lot of the space that the CTE programs are using are more for general ed classrooms, and they're not really designed for the programs that are being taught in those spaces,” she said.

More science labs, storage and restrooms are needed at the high school, Moses said. Resource and intervention groups are also using full-sized classrooms.

For some of the campuses, Moses mentioned that libraries are undersized according to TEA’s standards, but that wouldn’t need to be corrected unless the campus undergoes a major renovation. The board asked for more information on what counts as a major renovation.

SISD Executive Director of Operations and Student Services Micheal Chavez pointed out that the study looked at the current buildings that include previous renovations to create more space.

In discussion after the report, board members and administrators noticed that the report didn’t cover the capacity on athletic and band facilities as well as the capacity of Reno Elementary’s septic system.

After the board meeting, SISD posted on Facebook that leaders will conduct further research “to accurately determine requirements for additional space and upgraded classrooms, aiming to better prepare students for their chosen fields. Additionally, the district will soon establish a long-range facility planning committee.”

To contribute to the committee, email