FLORENCE, Texas (KXAN) — Florence ISD buffaloes went back to school Thursday. Its superintendent said the student population grew by an estimated 50-60 kids this year. A trend he expects to continue as more people settle in the communities around Austin. 

Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said his district predicts adding as many as 100 students every academic year in roughly 2-3 years as nearby housing developments are complete. 

He said the district was building a new elementary school in part due to this growth and as an update to its aging facility. 

“It’s a combination of addressing the growth and the aging conditions of our facilities. The current elementary that we’re in is really at capacity. And it’s also the oldest facility in our district.” said Michalewicz.

Michalewicz says student safety is also a top priority for the district, which hired a second school resource officer this academic year. While there’s been no overhaul of the district’s safety practices, Michalewicz says the district is always looking into how it can improve safety on campus.

“We had one [school resource officer] but we’ve added another we feel like that’s a good addition to our safety and security measures. The changes that we’ve made have really just to bolster what we’ve already had in place,” said Michalewicz.

The bond package voters approved in May to build the new Florence elementary school has two propositions, one of which also plans to build a new band hall and fieldhouse for its high school.

Michalewicz says this was needed partially for student safety as well as high schoolers must walk outdoors to migrate to the band hall.

With the first day complete for Florence ISD, Michalewicz anticipates future challenges to arise for students, staff, and teachers but any challenge is one the superintendent says they’re ready to tackle.

“The growth presents some challenge, the security presents a challenge but our people are fired up and ready to go,” said Michalewicz.