At its Dec. 13 meeting, the Eanes ISD Board of Trustees approved a $4.95 million purchase of property adjacent to Westlake High School, allowing the school district to consider expanding future instructional opportunities for students and increasing student parking.
District administrators began discussing the feasibility of purchasing the office building located at 401 Camp Craft Rd. when the property was recently listed for sale with other competitive offers. With little to no available space to expand the existing Westlake HS footprint, the property provides Eanes ISD the flexibility and creativity to broaden or expand student, staff and administrative spaces in the future.
The District will use $4.6 million from previous land sales to substantially offset the cost of the Camp Craft Rd. property. In 2015, the Board designated land sales proceeds for future capital-improvement projects, including, but not limited to, the potential purchase of real estate. These funds are restricted to capital-improvement expenses and cannot be used for staff compensation or other operational costs.
“The Board believes the opportunity to acquire real estate immediately adjacent to any existing campus is simply too important to pass up, especially because there are so few properties available for purchase in our school district,” said Eanes ISD Board President John Havenstrite. “The Board has been saving funds from past land sales for a time such as this. We are confident the extra space and proximity to the current site make this a necessary, if not essential, acquisition with long-term advantages.”
The District plans to begin work on a long-range facility plan in the coming months to consider the future of all Eanes ISD campuses, and the addition of the facility adjacent to Westlake will be included. A dialogue on a long-range facility plan will coincide with ongoing proposed bond project discussions.
“As the hallmark institution of our district and community, Westlake High School has evolved in many stages since it opened in 1969. We look forward to imagining how extra space will help support student learning and factor into those designs,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Arnett. “Any enhancement to the campus footprint, which this new building can enable, will benefit staff and students alike.”
Westlake HS Principal Steve Ramsey agreed. “Students at Westlake High School have many experiences available to them, but their interests are sometimes constrained by instructional areas that are limited and have been patched together over the past 50 years. An opportunity to expand our facilities that will support a world-class education is incredibly exciting.”
As discussions about a potential maintenance and efficiency bond in 2023 continue, the long-range facility goals and subsequent discussions of future bond projects - which may help determine uses for this property - will remain part of the planning process.