The Manor Independent School District is preparing to double in size in the next five years.
New superintendent Dr. Royce Avery says their student population is projected to grow from 9,000 students to 18,000. Thursday night, the district held a groundbreaking ceremony for three new campuses — an elementary, middle and high school.
Most groundbreakings happen before the dirt has been touched, but construction is well underway on all three buildings. Lagos Elementary School, on FM 973 near Murchison Street, is the farthest along. The sheer size and design makes it look more like a high school.
“If it’s not an elementary 10, 20, 30 years from now it can be used as a middle school, high school, early college prep or administration,” said Michael Brooks, Manor ISD’s Facilities and Construction Director. “So it’s a very versatile footprint, but it can be used for anything.”
The campus will also be a “Net-Zero Ready” facility which basically means it will be energy efficient to the extreme thru the use of solar panels, LED lights, a geothermal HVAC system and natural daylight streaming in cutting down the need for as many lights. “It will be able to generate as much electricity as it uses on a daily basis,” said Brooks.
Next, there’s the future home of Manor Senior High School which is being built behind the high school football stadium at 14900 FM 973. It will be a campus for juniors and seniors only, and free up space at Manor High School which will serve freshman and sophomores.
Last but not least, New Tech High School is running out of room with nearly 400 students.
A new addition will make room for twice as many, plus their principal Bobby Garcia is excited to see New Tech Middle School being built in their backyard. The district says it is the first fully devoted new tech campus being built from the ground up in Texas which will focus on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.
“The community is hungry for more,” said Garcia. “They see that relevant connections for kids help them make better connections with school with their teachers, and with their sense of who they are and who they want to be.”
All of the construction is happening while district leaders work to rebuild trust with taxpayers after an audit in January revealed astronomical spending and overpaying district employees. The Manor Police Department continues to investigate to determine if any criminal charges should be filed.
“There’s been a lot of negative things over the last year, but I think it’s time to shine some light on what things kids are doing and how they’re doing it and environment they’re doing it in,” said Dr. Avery. “We need to showcase that a little bit, and my job as superintendent is to really get out into the community to build to rebuild that trust.”
He says transparency is key as the district continues to grow and count on voters to approve future bonds.