New Santa Fe Elementary School

A concept drawing of the new, planned elementary school being built by the Santa Fe Independent School District. The school is scheduled to be completed by 2019.

SANTA FE

The Santa Fe Independent School District is adding a $23 million elementary building to accommodate the city’s growing population.

The elementary school, 11818 FM 1764, is scheduled for completion by May 2019 and will house 800 students, district officials said.

The district is paying for the school with money from a $35 million bond issue voters approved in 2016, Assistant Superintendent Patti Hanssard said.

“Current enrollment and potential planned residential developments validated the immediate need for a new elementary school,” she said. “In March of 2016, a long-range planning committee worked to identify and prioritize district facility needs and recommended the bond for a new elementary school with no tax rate increase.”

Growing population numbers prove the need for a new building, said Jodi Gidley, executive director of the Santa Fe ISD Education Foundation.

“We have two elementary schools and that’s all we have,” she said. “Right now, we house prekindergarten through fifth grade in two buildings.”

Santa Fe had a population of 12,222 in 2010 and that number grew to about 13,200 in 2016, according to U.S. Census data.

The city has been needing a new school building for a few years now, Mayor Jeff Tambrella said.

“Even when my kids were growing up, the schools were getting full,” he said. “This was actually a definite need and there’s still so much growth that’s coming. They are just happening to plan for the future.”

The school district continues to grow to meet the education demands of the swelling community, Santa Fe Education Foundation board member Paula Heilman said.

“Santa Fe is growing slowly, but it’s growing and the city is doing a good job at thinking ahead,” Heilman said.

Santa Fe ISD plans a groundbreaking ceremony at 5 p.m. April 24 at 11818 FM 1764.

Connor Behrens: 409-683-5241; connor.behrens@galvnews.com.

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Before coming to work for The Daily News as a staff reporter, Connor worked for us as a freelance correspondent throughout 2017. He has written for other publications such as the Washington Post.

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