Accelerated growth leads to new school openings


photo courtesy PISD Facebook

Chuck and Cindy Stuber, along with family and PISD administration, cut the ceremonial ribbon signifying the opening of Stuber Elementary. “Ms. Stuber was an active volunteer in the Prosper schools,” PISD Communications said. “Mr. Stuber was on the school board as board president for many years and was instrumental in moving the focus of Prosper toward the future that prepared us for the growth we are now experiencing. ”

After an increase in student numbers, the district celebrated the opening of two new elementary schools, Furr and Stuber Elementary, with ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Aug. 11. Along with students at the new Hays Middle School, Furr and Stuber students started class Aug. 14 with all other campuses in the district.

The Westridge subdivision in McKinney houses Furr Elementary, while Stuber is located on Fishtrap Road, behind The Parks at Legacy in Prosper.

“It was imperative that more elementary schools be built to accommodate the rapidly growing population, as the existing elementary schools were over capacity,” PISD Communications said. “We are seeing growth in every area, which makes choosing the locations for each opening campus that much more of an important decision.”

Construction for the elementary schools commenced in June 2018, shortly after the district approved the new plans. The development of Hays began in August 2017 and concluded in May 2019.

“Unfortunately, each time a school opens, there are some zoning changes made. PISD works diligently to prevent disruption as much as possible and ensure that all campuses function at the same exemplary level,” PISD Communications said. “There was a window in which, after the zoning maps were released, if there were certain specific extenuating circumstances that would necessitate a student attending a different school than that to which they were zoned, the parents could file an appeal and request for another campus. That time frame has ended.”

The new elementary and middle schools improve upon the design, as well as the technology offered at older district campuses.

“As now required by the state, both (Furr and Stuber), as well as Spradley Elementary, because of the timing in which it was built, have storm shelters in the gymnasiums,” PISD Communications said. “(Hays) features a more open-air architectural design with more availability of flexible learning space. We are integrating from Promethean boards to the new Newline Interactive Televisions which are 86″ touchscreen Android TV’s, which allow app downloads for teacher educational use in the classroom.”

Veteran Prosper residents, who said they were devoted to the district and community through active involvement, contributed their names to the new schools.

“Mr. Hays was a longtime Prosper resident and was the author of two books about the history of Prosper,” PISD Communications said. “Mrs. Furr taught for many years in PISD and Mr. Furr served on the school board. Ms. Stuber was an active volunteer in the Prosper schools. Mr. Stuber was on the school board as board president for many years and was instrumental in moving the focus of Prosper toward the future that prepared us for the growth we are now experiencing. ”

With current enrollments of 810 and 767 respectively, Furr and Stuber elementary have comparable student bodies to the other middle schools. Enrollment in Hays, about 1,227 students, is relatively equal to that of Rogers and Reynolds, but Principal Nicholas Jones hopes to take the new growth and create a unique environment while maintaining some friendly competition between schools.

“The thing that I’ve liked with the growth is all the different personalities and types of kids that go here,” Jones said. “We’ve got great kids transferring over from some other schools and being able to create our own culture here is something I really wanted to do. We want to have our own personality, and we want to make sure our middle school is as good as all the other ones. The principal at those other schools have all known each other for a really long time, so it makes for a really friendly rivalry.”

Prosper community members should expect to see more construction in the coming months, as the district plans to build more schools in anticipation of the projected growth.

“We will open another middle school next fall with the opening of Rock Hill High School,” PISD Communications said. “After that, the hope is to alternate years opening a middle and high school.”

Current enrollment in the entire district is 16,662 students which is about 2,000 more than the end of school last year – essentially a 14% increase.

“There is always great news because we are adding many new amazing families… the less than great news is that this is just the front end of the growth storm,” according to recent school board meeting minutes. “Our projections between now and 2025 push our student enrollment north of 32,000 students.”

As the growth continues, the district expresses its appreciation for the community and school board, who encouraged new accommodations and plans for expansion.

“The new school finance plan approved by the legislature was not kind to Prosper with regard to student funding, but the recent $1.37 billion bond will help provide the needed funds to help allow our building programs to keep up with our rapid growing population,” PISD Communications said. “We are fortunate that the board and community are supportive and committed to ensuring that our facilities are top quality to best meet the needs of our students and provides a quality education that meets our graduate profile.”