District plans process to open 3rd high school

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, January 19, 2013

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Although Northwest ISD’s third comprehensive high school isn’t slated to open until the fall of 2015, its preparations are well under way.

Monday night Dennis McCreary, assistant superintendent for facilities, planning and construction, presented a timeline that included development, construction, attendance boundaries, school culture, staffing and equipment/set-up.

“The opening of a new high school is much more complex of a process than just the design, just the construction,” McCreary said. “There are so many more components.”

Almost every task in the development category is complete or near completion, including the final design of the school that will be presented to the board Jan. 31. The only task that is anticipated to take more time is the development of academic programs.

Work will begin this year on tasks in the construction category, beginning with the selection of a construction manager at risk in March and a groundbreaking in the spring, in an effort to complete the bulk of construction by April 2015.

The board accomplished the first steps in the attendance boundaries category by discussing the need to form a boundary committee, which will be appointed at the board’s next meeting. The committee will meet during the spring and propose boundaries to the school board May 20.

The development of school culture is under way with the nomination process for the school’s name. Recommendations can be made now through Thursday, Feb. 7, at The school’s color and mascot will be selected next January.

Recruiting and hiring staff, beginning with the principal, begins next summer and continues through March 2015. Other staff that will be hired include two associate principals, an office manager, an athletic director, a fine arts director, librarian and counselors.

Furniture and instructional material will be purchased beginning in August of 2014.

“This is the process we used to open Byron Nelson High School (in 2009), and we believe that turned out to be a rather smooth opening of a new high school in our district,” Superintendent Karen Rue said. “We did several things that served as a jumpstart into a very positive climate and tradition-setting stage for them by taking many of the very emotional pieces out of the equation and taking care of those first, and then allowing the new principal to jump in and keep going.”

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