Unfinished summer construction affecting the start of school in some districts

Investigations

CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — Thousands of central Texas students are back in class, and many more head back to school next week. But parents and teachers are learning that summer construction at campuses doesn’t always stay on schedule.

KXAN Investigator Erin Cargile has been checking on the status of unfinished projects around the area, and asking how those will impact the school day.

Bowie High School

Students in the Austin Independent School District start the new school year Tuesday, and Bowie High School in south Austin is still a construction zone outside.

Bowie High School on Aug. 15, 2019 (KXAN Photo: Ed Zavala)
Bowie High School on Aug. 15, 2019 (KXAN Photo: Ed Zavala)

AISD said the contractor is working seven days a week and 10 hours a day to finish the parent-drop off lane. It should be ready to use on Monday, the day before school starts.

But the parking lot at Bowie will not be ready until August 28, which is more than a week into the school year. The district said it has negotiated offsite parking for students until it’s ready.

Kealing Middle School

Parents at Kealing Middle School in east Austin were alerted that class schedules would be delayed due to ongoing construction. Austin ISD said the renovation is almost complete. There’s still some work to do in the office, but the district says there will be no impact to the school day.

“There will be no impact on the operations of the campus,” said AISD communications specialist Eddie Villa.

Murchison Middle School

Construction is still ongoing at Murchison Middle School in south Austin. The AISD said it will not affect the school day.

Leander Middle School

Students went back to school Thursday in the Leander Independent School District. A parent asked KXAN to check on construction at Leander Middle School.

“This was the busiest summer for construction projects in the history of Leander ISD,” said LISD communications coordinator Matt Mitchell. “Some of that construction will continue into the school year at a few campuses, as not all could be completed by the start of school.”

This includes Leander Middle School. Mitchell said a few punch list items remain and there are some kinks to be worked out as a result of construction, but all campuses are safe and ready to receive students.

San Marcos CISD

When some teachers in the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District reported back to work earlier this week, they could not access their classrooms due to unfinished construction. The first day of school in San Marcos is August 26.

Mendez Elementary School under construction in San Marcos CISD (KXAN viewer photo)

The district confirmed crews are wrapping up projects at Bowie and Mendez elementary schools, and work is still going on at the brand new Rodriguez Elementary.

A construction timeline for the new campus posted on the district’s website shows the work would be down to the wire due to a series of rainy days in the fall of 2018. At that time, the completion date for Rodriguez was set for August 19 — seven days before the first day of school.

The district told KXAN crews are working around the clock to get teachers into their rooms as quickly as possible at Bowie, Mendez and Rodriguez Elementary.

If you have questions or concerns about a different school construction projects, send information and pictures to reportit@kxan.com.

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