Keller Citizen

NISD growth slowing down

The fast-growing Northwest school district for several years has been the second-fastest growing district in the North Texas region behind only Frisco.

But a demographer’s report to trustees at their Dec. 8 meeting indicates Denton, for now, is adding students at a faster rate than Northwest, pushing it down to third.

Bob Templeton of Templeton Demographics said the district, which has grown by 4.6 percent in the past year, has seen a temporary slowdown mainly because of a limited supply of vacant developed lots.

"We’ve had a little bit of a shortage of lots," Templeton said.

This slight decline in the district’s rapid growth should only be temporary. Developers soon are expected to begin developing several housing projects over a wide swath of the 232-square-mile district.

And that development should be ongoing for a long while. Northwest far outpaces other districts in the number of future lots.

"You’re going to bump back up to second in the next year to 18 months," Templeton said.

Templeton projects the district, which has roughly 19,828 students, to add an additional 5,705 to its student population in the next five years and 12,873 over the next 10. By 2024-25, Templeton expects Northwest to have about 32,701 students.

"You’re still going to be growing fast the next five to 10 years," Templeton said.

To keep pace with rising enrollment, Northwest has been busy building new campuses. The district’s third comprehensive high school, V.R. Eaton, is slated to open in August in the Haslet/Roanoke area.

Dennis McCreary, Northwest’s assistant superintendent for facilities, planning and construction, told Trustees the construction of Eaton is proceeding on schedule.

"It’s rapidly coming to completion," McCreary said.

The school will begin with ninth- and 10th-graders and add juniors then seniors in the second and third years. Northwest approved its attendance zones for the three high schools two years ago, meaning current students as well as new move-ins already know which campus they’ll attend when Eaton opens for the 2014-15 school year.

"Everyone who moves in already knows where they’re going to go to high school," McCreary said.

Eaton Principal Carri Eddy told the school board future Eaton students and their families are eagerly anticipating opening the new campus.

"Instead of ‘My kids have to go to Eaton,’ now I’m hearing ‘My kids get to go to Eaton,’" Eddy said.

Philo Waters, assistant principal at Northwest High, was hired in November as Eaton’s associate principal. Eddy anticipates having all faculty and staff positions filled by May.