Daniel Gallagher said part of his job as superintendent of Little Elm ISD is planning for the inevitable growth the district is facing.
That includes grabbing land when it has potential to suit the district’s needs.
So when a tract of land on Yacht Club Road in Oak Point became available, he made sure the district was there to get it.
Last week the LEISD Board of Trustees approved the purchase of 60 acres of land on Yacht Club.
Plans likely include an elementary school, though Gallagher hasn’t ruled out a middle school.
Either way Gallagher said the land is crucial in addressing the district’s growth.
“As a district, Little Elm ISD is growing consistently,” Gallagher said.
It’s a testament to the community, he said.
“One reason enrollment is growing is this is a beautiful community,” Gallagher said. “It’s also a credit to our school district.”
According to Templeton Demographics, the firm LEISD uses to provide enrollment projections, LEISD had approximately 8,100 students in 2019-20 is projected to reach 10,300 students by 2029-30.
“At build-out we could be close to 15,000,” Gallagher said. “We can’t really see 20 years into the future, but we could be at 20,000 students.”
So planning for that growth has been on Gallagher’s mind since he became superintendent, he said.
“We know we will need more elementary schools,” Gallagher said. “And we’ll need another middle school in the future. On that land, it doesn’t have a definite answer, elementary school or middle school, but it provides us an opportunity for flexibility to plan for that growth.”
Gallagher said the 60-acre tract would serve either one.
“That’s more than enough land for an elementary school,” Gallagher said. “Usually those need 20 to 25 acres. But this gives us flexibility.”
While a middle school is an option, Gallagher said it’s probably not as likely since it would be in close proximity to Strike Middle School.
Gallagher said the district has already purchased over 100 acres to prepare for the upcoming growth. Other sites include the Valencia neighborhood and in Lakewood Village, each for elementary schools.
“We’ll need three new elementary schools and a third middle school,” he said.
In addition, existing campuses could see a change in the coming years to provide more space for elementary students. Cecelia Jones, the district’s director of communications, said the current plan is to turn the Colin Powell Sixth Grade Center into an elementary school. Jones said that would give nearby residents a neighborhood elementary school.
She also said the Zellars Center for Learning and Leadership may turn into an Early Childhood Center. She said that would open up classrooms for the pre-kindergarten program and would free up classrooms for future kindergarteners through fifth-graders at Chavez, Oak Point and Hackberry elementary schools.
Last week’s land purchase just adds to the options.
“The goal is to find property at a fair price so we can invest in it as we know we’ll have to build schools,” Gallagher said.
Year Total Growth%
2019-20 8,066 3.6
2020-21 8,297 2.9
2021-22 8,599 3.6
2022-23 8,903 3.5
2023-24 9,147 2.7
2024-25 9,365 2.4
2025-26 9,553 2.0
2026-27 9,740 2.0
2027-28 9,943 2.1
2028-29 10,133 1.9
2029-30 10,358 2.2
Courtesy of Templeton Demographics