Published Aug. 14, 2014
By David Tuma, The Belton Journal
Work on future Belton Independent School District’s construction projects starts this fall. The district will address both the high school and middle school capacities. There is no way around it, eventually BISD will be forced to build a second high school, if they can get the votes needed for the bond issue.
Templeton Demographics did a recent study concerning school growth by year. BISD has grown around 3 percent for nearly two decades. From around 6,500 total students in 1996 to 10,343 in 2014 the district has expanded but this isn’t Cedar Park.
Realistically the district can support 29,000 students if every part of the district has a house and the county can find the money to build the roads. There are no current funds to build Lake to Lake Road so the event that BISD is fills up that fast in 20-years is highly unlikely.
The ten year forecast provided by Templeton Demographics is that in 10 years BISD will have 14,099. In 10-years the district will have 4,000 high school students. A number that is still well below some schools in Texas. Belton will be right at 3,000 students this fall.
The district is considered a fast growth district and is in the top 96 in Texas in terms of growth out of over 1110 school districts. Belton will form a citizen’s committee to share info with the community and attempt to work up a plan that voters will approve. First they have to find out where they are in terms of growth and where the district stands in terms of student capacity.
Total capacity of the district if every classroom is filled is 13,000. BISD will pass that capacity in six to seven years. The high school capacity is 3,578 and they will expand past that capacity in just four years.
Without question the top neighborhoods in Bell County are being built in Belton. Future growth West of Loop 121 will be one of the top areas to live in the Central Texas area. Belton and Morgan’s Point Resort might finally be spilt with students going to two different high schools.
As a community Belton will finally have to address what is best for their children and community in relation to what BISD suggests. From an economic standpoint, voting for a 50-50 split between West Temple and Belton is not necessarily what is best for the Belton community in regards to bringing business into the city. However, building schools in West Temple could be the most logical expansion option for the schools and might have no economic impact at all.
It isn’t an easy thing for BISD either. They have kids to educate.
“This is one of the more complicated plans because it is an emotional issue. It will also be more expensive. Tackling high school growth is not easy. We need to continue to plan for the future. There are also aging facilities that need to be considered,” said BISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon.
Parents and administrators will need to weigh all their options and decide what is best for Belton before making such an important decision. But in the face of Belton’s fast growth, a decision will have to be made soon.