Fort Worth schools Superintendent Kent Scribner’s potential solutions to overcrowding at Tanglewood Elementary include a new elementary school, a split-campus model or an expansion of the current campus.
The options, presented to about 350 community members during a town hall Wednesday, come after a series of meetings about the school’s ongoing space woes. The campus, built in 1960, has a capacity of 594 students but currently serves 870. There are seven portable buildings on the campus.
“We listened to many voices and many points of view,” Scribner told the Star-Telegram before the town hall meeting.
Twenty-five community members spoke Wednesday. Tanglewood supporters said they want more details about any potential attendance zone changes. Several said they want the district to make Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center a neighborhood campus and don’t want the district to create a mega school.
Resident Cara Kennemer said the crowding situation at Tanglewood is at “a breaking point.”
“It’s crowded. It’s loud. It’s chaotic,” Kennemer said.
Bianca Quinones, who attended Alice Carlson, said she is not from the Tanglewood neighborhood but credits the program, which draws students from across the district, for opening a path to higher education for her and her brother.
“I couldn’t be any more prouder of my school,” Quinones said, adding that she is dismayed at the possibility that it could be turned it into a neighborhood school.
“You are trying to exclude people who are not from this area,” Quinones said.
Tanglewood allies strongly prefer that the school’s attendance boundary remain the same. The attendance zone of the school near TCU is bounded by South University Drive, Bellaire Drive South, Loop 820 and Bryant Irvin Road.
Alleviating overcrowding at Tanglewood and planning for the Young Men’s Leadership Academy and the World Languages Institute are among issues the Fort Worth school district is exploring during a series of town hall meetings now underway.
The meetings are part of the district’s work to draft a facilities master plan that will guide growth. Projects chosen will likely be part of a future bond program
The Tanglewood options were summarized in a video and PowerPoint presentation during the event, which was broadcast on Facebook Live.
Scribner said he will make a recommendation to the school board about Tanglewood this summer.
The three Tanglewood options are:
▪ A new school for children in kindergarten through grade five housed in a state-of-the-art building likely west of Hulen Street. That option would require a boundary shift and is estimated to cost $28 million to $30 million.
▪ Split Tanglewood campuses would include a new campus likely west of Hulen Street that maintains the school’s current attendance zone. This option would split the grades by a configuration to be decided later. One example would be a campus for kindergarten through second grade and an upper-grade campus for third- through fifth-grade students. Under this option, also estimated to cost $28 million to $30 million, there would be no boundary change.
▪ A Tanglewood expansion would include new innovative learning environments, additional art and science rooms, a library expansion, an enlarged gym, offices, restrooms, storage and collaboration spaces. This option, estimated to cost $11 million to $13 million, would not require a boundary change.
Teachers, staff and parents have met to brainstorm solutions. Scribner said his options take into account concerns raised by the community — preservation of a neighborhood school that isn’t too large and doesn’t adversely affect property values.
Alice Carlson, at 3320 W. Cantey St., sits within the Tanglewood zone but draws students from across the district based on a lottery system. Carlson parents also asked that their program be kept at its current location.
Scribner took the idea of transforming Alice Carlson into a neighborhood school off the table Wednesday, explaining that the campus is too small to accommodate growth in the Tanglewood attendance area. He also said that renovations at the school are limited because of the school’s historical designation and that turning Alice Carlson into a neighborhood school would create a “domino effect” of boundary changes, with schools such as Lily B. Clayton affected.
“I will not recommend that Alice Carlson become a neighborhood school,” Scribner said, adding that there may be a possibility of allowing more neighborhood children to attend Carlson along with students from across the district.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.