VHS, Monroe expansions begin this summer

Vandegrift fans will have more places to sit next fall after more seating capacity will be added to Monroe Stadium this summer.

Part II LISD State of the District’s bond update

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

Construction will take place this summer on the Vandegrift High School and Ed. W. Monroe Memorial Stadium expansion projects, giving more classrooms to the growing student body and more seats to the Viper fan base.

New construction projects and added security measures across LISD were important updates at the annual State of the District presentation on March 21. Superintendent Dan Troxell and staff highlighted bond projects, as well as student growth and LISD successes to a group of 240 attendees.

More security features will be added to VHS and all of the other Leander ISD middle and high schools by summer 2019. Elementary school vestibules have already been updated.  

Matthew Schaefer, resident of Steiner Ranch, attended the event and said he is impressed with the seriousness that district leaders take on the security of local schools and the safety of LISD students.

“Seeing that district leaders have had a plan and budget in place for over five years of making our schools secure and safe for our students and faculty was very reassuring,” Schaefer said. “This is an issue that Dr. Troxell and his team take very seriously and have placed a high priority on continuing to make improvements to it.”

Security, safety

Security upgrades at each campus are an important part of the $454.4 million LISD 2017 bond which passed last November. The bond committee used a study as a guide to increase security at LISD schools.   

“One of the things the bond committee really looked at was a study done by our board of trustees four years ago, after the tragedy of Sandy Hook (Elementary in Connecticut). They looked at what we could do facility-wise to make our places of learning more enjoyable as well as safe, and give the kids a better peace of mind as well as faculty,” Troxell said.

In elementary schools, secure vestibules have already been put in place. All of the middle and high schools will be equipped with additional and updated security measures by summer 2019.

Some of the security improvements at the secondary level will be different than the elementary level because of the multiple doors and entrances.

“We will be able to cordon off or lock down hallways,” Troxell said. “Having just a secure vestibule in front is not enough. You have to be able to secure wings of the school at a time.”

The walls will add some additional cameras throughout the school system through a central network, he said.

“We’ll be able to watch at the central office what is going on at any school at any time,” Troxell said. “These are some really significant upgrades we think will help.”

Vandegrift expansion, road

LISD has been working with an approved group to decide what design best fits the needs for Vandegrift. VHS is gaining some 14 classrooms.

“Our demographer continues to project the VHS enrollment (to be at) 2,800 students in the foreseeable future however the building is currently built for just 2,400 students,” said Corey Ryan, LISD spokesperson, through a video presentation at the LISD State of the District.

“With the new expansion, the school will be able to increase its capacity to 2,900 students and meet the needs of campus programs,” Ryan said.

Monroe Stadium grandstands will be expanded this summer, “adding bleachers to increase seating capacity to 7,500 spectators,” Ryan said.

The 2017 bond includes $3 million for design and mitigation costs tied to the construction of an additional access road to Vandegrift and Four Points Middle School. LISD continues to work on this secondary access road since the campuses have one way in and one way out.

“LISD continues to work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for permission to construct a second access road to VHS and Four Points Middle School,” Ryan said. “If approved through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the bond includes money for designing that road.”

Other LISD construction

Other construction projects in the district include the expansion of Leander Middle School this summer by building new classrooms to replace portables that have been in use for decades.

In the bond package are also funds to purchase land for nine new schools, mostly in the northern part of the district in the growth areas of the district.

“We have to build those five schools in five years, in addition, we have to design future schools like the future high school that will occur in this district very shortly,” Troxell said.

Glenn High School is projected to have over 3,000 students in the next few years. It is in a very fast growing part of the district, Troxell said.

Career & Technical Education

The district is adding some Career & Technical Education or CTE courses and programs and updating facilities for training including welding, plumbing and electrician work.

LISD already offers close to 150 different CTE courses including: medical microbiology; advanced animal science; principles of agriculture; graphic design and illustration; restaurant management; civil engineering and architecture; principles of business, marketing and finance; and aerospace engineering.

Vandegrift will have a Career and a Technical Education Incubator classroom.

Also as a part of CTE, there are not enough ag barns across the district. These settings are used for student who raise animals for FFA and used as settings for other programs.

LISD will add a new ag barn at Grandview Hills Elementary campus in the south for Vandegrift.

It will add another for Glenn in the northern part of the district to help alleviate some of the overcrowding at Cedar Park and Rouse high school ag barns.

Construction of VHS and GHS agriculture barn facilities is estimated at $6.9 million.


“(This bond) will allow LISD to start about 30 construction projects… over the next four to five years… and refresh outdated technology across the district,” he said.

The 2017 bond also includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades, bus replacements and additions, and a new transportation facility to be added across from Glenn in the north.

“HVAC is important because if you cannot be comfortable in the classroom, it is hard to learn,” Troxell said.

Part I last week reported on district growth and next week student successes will be covered.