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Shadow Creek growth sparked plans for new elementary

Shadow Creek Ranch will be home to the Alvin Independent School District’s 14th elementary school now that trustees have OK’d a contract to purchase the 15-acre tract.

The school board on Tuesday approved the $1.7 million contract to purchase the land on Kingsley Drive at Trinity Bay Drive. It will be the district’s third elementary campus in Shadow Creek Ranch. The others are Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary and Mary Marek Elementary.

The land purchase and infrastructure arrangements for the new elementary school will be funded by Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 2, which serves Shadow Creek Ranch, said Tommy King, the district’s deputy superintendent for business and support services.

“This is the latest school site inside the TIRZ,” King said. The TIRZ pays “for all the land and the development necessary to make that land a site for the school. The money’s paid back through taxes coming in. Twenty-five percent of taxes from the growth in the increase in (property) value go to pay for that," he said.

“That way, it keeps the growth in that area from having a negative impact upon the taxpayers of the district.”

Fueling the decision to build the new school is the phenomenal growth of Shadow Creek Ranch, King said. Alvin ISD currently has 8,636 students in grades K-5.

“We have a 17 percent growth rate at Wilder Elementary, and the (other elementaries) in the area are growing at 12 percent,” King said. With the new school, he added, “We’re trying to accommodate that growth.”

King said the district plans to complete the land acquisition by early spring, and construction bids should go out by February. Construction is slated to begin in March, with a projected completion of June 2011.

Article by Robert Stanton, Houston Chronicle