VHS campus is now more secure with new vestibule, Estimated $20 million expansion to be done fall 2020

Construction on the security vestibule at Vandegrift began at the end of last school year and finished Aug. 5. HARSHITA AVIRNENI


Just in time for the 2019-2020 school year to begin on Thursday, Vandegrift has a newly implemented security vestibule at the main entrance of the school. 

Construction is also underway to add some 60,000-square-feet which will benefit robotics, STEM, and vet tech classes to name a few.

The addition of the secure vestibule for Vandegrift was a part of the original election item and bond program approved by voters in November 2017. This included $7,749,328 to add vestibules to all of the Leander ISD high schools and alternative schools. 

“The facility enhancements to the building main entrance vestibule will allow the campus to implement improvements recommended following a district-wide security audit performed recently,” project manager Steve Berry said. “Improvements to the building main entrance will allow the campus to better serve visitors to Vandegrift in a more secure environment.”

Construction on the vestibule began at the end of last school year and finished Aug. 5. 

Another construction project is in the works on the campus to expand the square footage of Vandegrift.

At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, construction also began for the new building that is scheduled to be finished fall 2020. The building addition will be approximately 60,000-square-feet and will provide new classrooms. It will enable Vandegrift to hold 2,900 students. 

“Construction bids for the building addition are not yet complete,” Berry said. “The bond budget for this work is estimated to be between $20-$22 million dollars. Early indications give us confidence the project can be completed within this budgeted amount.”

Principal Charlie Little said this new building will help give students state-of-the-art facilities and STEM classrooms. 

Robotics, STEM 

“Probably the thing that I’m most excited about that’s unique is the robotics space,” Little said. “Mr. Allen, Rad Allen, put a lot of work into the thought and design with everybody and it was a collaborative process so having the robotics teams have this stat-the-art, unique facility will be great for the whole school.”

Allen added onto this, saying the new robotics space will help solve a lot of problems for the organization, giving space for new equipment, new practice fields and much needed storage.

“The new facility will [also] allow us to increase our participation by at least 50 percent,” Allen said. “Our goal is to take everyone into our program that wants to be part of the program. It is no fun to turn people away who are passionate about STEM and want to get involved in robotics.”

Ag, vet tech

Along with the new robotics facility, agriculture and veterinary tech classes will be getting a classroom that will simulate a vet clinic. Little said this is the other thing he is very excited for. The classroom will have separate access for people to bring their pets in and mirror the equipment in an actual clinic. 

“Working through the design phase of the project, I’m encouraged by the excitement I’ve seen already from campus faculty and administration,” Berry said. 

“Opening day for any new building is something I enjoy greatly – watching the reaction of students as they enter a new space for the first time is really rewarding for me and our project team,” Berry added.

Construction is underway at Vandegrift to add some 60,000-square-feet to provide new classrooms. It will enable Vandegrift to hold 2,900 students upon completion in fall 2020. HARSHITA AVIRNENI