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Belding shares bond project plans

By Abigail Allen


Aubrey ISD has settled on the footprint and basic layout of the district's new middle school and elementary school as well as the major renovation planned for Aubrey High School.

The plans, approved by the school board this month as part of the $385.9 million bond program passed in 2022, were shared by Superintendent Dr. David Belding with the Lake Ray Roberts Rotary Club members on Tuesday.

"Our growth, if you wonder if when I was coming around and talking about the bond last year, did I lie to you? No, I didn't," Belding said. "As of yesterday, we had 3,636 kids in our district. Last year at this time, we had about 3,160.

Belding shares bond project plans

"We've grown between 14 and 15% this year. Last year we grew 17.5%."

Before launching into the discussion of the plans, Belding shared some of the successes the district has had across the board this year.

"UIL has this competition every year for high schools that's called the [UIL] Lone Star Cup," Belding said. "… For every activity in UIL that you participate in, you can score points by winning district, going deep in the playoffs, in your UIL academic competitions, band competitions. It's everything UIL—you can score points."

Aubrey High School is in the Top 10 for this year's competition.

He mentioned the five district championships the varsity sports teams have won this year, successes in the arts at the high school and middle school level and the UIL academics team winning district as well.

Belding shares bond project plans

"A lot of great things going on, pre-K all the way through 12th," Belding said.

AISD Communications and Web Director Eva Coleman helped Belding by maneuvering through the tables inside LizzyGator to show the plans to the Rotarians.

Aubrey High School will have almost double its current capacity when the major renovations are completed to the building, Belding said, because the committee's recommendation of a new high school were not feasible right now.

"A new high school, with escalation was priced—without any athletic facilities except for practice fields—at about $218 million for a 2,000-seat build," he said. "We wouldn't be able to build anything but the high school initially, and we have other needs."

The design approved by the board will do all it can to blend the new portions, including second story add-ons, into the existing façade.

It's being expanded with not just capacity but also growth of programs in mind.

Belding shares bond project plans

"We designed the school for the programs we want to have when we're at capacity," he said. "We have a space for a wrestling program and space for a dance program."

He added other programs, including more career and technology education pathways, that the building expansion will help accommodate.

There will also be two practice fields and tennis courts constructed on two adjacent lots connected to the existing high school footprint that the district has purchased since the bond passed in May 2022.

Aubrey's second middle school campus will be on a 71-acre site east of FM 2931 and north of the Aspen Meadows development.

"We got it for just under $2 a square foot, so I felt really good about that," Belding said. "So, when you do the math, it was $6 million for 71 acres."

Belding shares bond project plans

The facility will start with a capacity of 800, but the core services will be built to handle a future expansion to accommodate 1,000 students.

"The bridge at the Greenbelt [on FM 428], they really utilized that through the interior," Belding said as part of the nod to the historic parts of Aubrey.

A new approach with this middle school will be having offices for the counselors and assistant principals "out among the students," Belding said.

When the district closed on the fourth elementary school property dedicated to the district by DR Horton within the Silverado West development, it paid less than $1,000 for the land.

Belding shares bond project plans

"Construction costs are so sky-high right now that we're trying to make the buildings very efficient in the footprint and traffic flow," Belding said. "Because we built Fuller for $245 a square foot. We're pricing these at like $390 to $400 a square foot because of how much more construction is."

All of the projects incorporate collaborative learning spaces.

The level of detail required for the three projects comes down to such minutiae as where to place the outlets so all of the technology needed in the classrooms can be charged as well as how the room furniture should be oriented to allow for an optimum teaching wall.

Belding also said he, the other administrators and the board have taken the notes of building Fuller Elementary to make further improvements.

Belding shares bond project plans

The next three elementary schools will all be built from the same prototype design to help save on design costs, with small changes to make them distinctive and different to match the community surrounding them.

Also within the site for the second middle school is room for one of the future elementary school sites.

"We've done it in a way where if you like we can change brick color or there's a little tweaking on the interior of the building, so every one of them doesn't look exactly the same," Belding said. "… But the footprint of the building will be really much the same."


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