DISD chooses Lantana for site

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District to build 22nd elementary school

The Denton school district’s next elementary school will be built in Lantana, a residential development in the south portion of the district’s boundaries.

At a meeting Tuesday, the district voted 7-0 on the location for the district’s 22nd elementary school.

The school is to be built on 12 acres the district is in the process of acquiring north of FM407 and west of Copper Canyon Road in Lantana’s Fairlin neighborhood, according to district officials.

Superintendent Jamie Wilson said the district is waiting on the survey for the land before closing the deal.

In December, the school board approved the purchase and exchange of real property with Dallas-based real estate development company Republic Property Group for the construction of a future educational facility.

Under the agreement, the school district will use $1.7 million in bond money to acquire 12 acres, and exchange 2.9 acres of unused district land on the E.P. Rayzor Elementary School site with the property group.

Wilson said site costs and infrastructure are included in the land deal.

A 2012 fourth-quarter growth report presented at Tuesday’s meeting by a representative of Templeton Demographics projected that by the 2013-14 school year, Blanton Elementary School would have 757 students, more than district’s 740-student capacity limit for elementary schools, with enrollment continuing to increase in future years. Current enrollment at Blanton Elementary is 719, according to the report, and by the 2022-23 school year, enrollment for the Blanton attendance boundary is forecast to be more than 900 students.

According to district officials, the Lantana area is projected to have a total of about 1,800 elementary students within the next seven years.

Mia Price, board president, said the growth report was a defining factor in the board’s decision.

“The growth indicates that the south part of the district does not have the capacity to accommodate growth,” she said.

The next elementary school will be the third built in the Lantana development.

Elementary schools that serve the area include E.P. Rayzor Elementary, which opened in 2002, and Blanton Elementary, which opened in 2008.

Also in the Lantana area is Harpool Middle School.

In the last decade, the school district has opened 10 elementary campuses, Wilson said.

The 22nd elementary school is the last elementary campus that remains in the 2007 bond package, according to district officials.

Last month, board members learned the district has the bonding capacity under its current tax rate to sell the more than $76.7 million remaining from the 2007 bond package.

Wilson said the board is slated to discuss the remaining bonds March 19.

That money will assist in financing the new elementary, he said.

Additionally, the Lantana Education Charitable Foundation is contributing $1 million to offset costs of the campus, Wilson said.

The foundation supports advanced educational programs and scholarships for Lantana students.

In a joint statement released by the school district and the Lantana foundation, Jake Wagner — executive vice president of Republic Property Group — said he was excited about the third elementary school being built in Lantana.

He said the partnership with the school district has created an outstanding learning environment and facilities.

According to district officials, the new elementary school will include sustainable and environmentally friendly features.

Information on the cost to construct the facility was not yet available.

Wilson said he projects a fall 2014 open date for the new elementary school.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is btabor@dentonrc.com .


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