Fort Worth

Early plans for new K-5 campus within Tanglewood zone move forward

A proposed new K-5 elementary campus aimed at serving neighborhoods near the top-ranked Tanglewood school moved closer to the drawing board with the school board’s approval of an early version of the school district’s long-range facilities master plan.

Superintendent Kent Scribner has recommended construction of the new campus and further improvement to the existing campus at 3060 Overton Park Drive West in Fort Worth. Under Scribner’s proposal, a new state-of-the-art campus would be built within the Tanglewood attendance zone, but west of Hulen Street. A site has not been identified, according to the district’s early plans.

The attendance zone of the school near TCU is bounded by South University Drive, Bellaire Drive South, Loop 820 and Bryant Irvin Road.

The goal is to build another exemplary campus in the same general area to address overcrowding issues raised by parents. The Tanglewood campus, built in 1960, has a capacity of 594 students but serves 870. Seven district-owned portable buildings were located on the Tanglewood campus when the school year ended.

“I’m thrilled that we have all come together,” said Carrie McPadden, president of Tanglewood’s Parent Teacher Association. She said the Tanglewood community will work to make sure the new school will succeed. “It will be fantastic.”

The projects are part of a districtwide draft facilities master plan presented, in part, to trustees Tuesday. The full plan is still in the works, said Clint Bond, a district spokesman. The board approved the first reading of the plan with a 5-1 vote. Trustee Ann Sutherland cast a dissenting vote.

“This is just a first step of many to come,” Scribner told the board after presentation to the board.

The master plan is a long-term blueprint for future bond programs.

Sutherland said she voted against the preliminary master plan because she wasn’t convinced that the plan is clear.

“I don’t like pie-in-the-sky planning,” Sutherland said.

The draft includes modernizing classrooms at the district’s 14 comprehensive high schools. At Tanglewood’s existing campus, the building will accommodate a capacity of 685 students. Additions include a library expansion, science classrooms, art classrooms, music classroom and multi-purpose gymnasium, according to the draft plan. The new campus would also have a capacity of 685 students in an 84,401-square foot building.

Once the full plan is completed it will be presented for a second reading, Bond said. That vote is expected to take place in August.

Also Tuesday, trustees voted unanimously to allow Scribner to start negotiating for purchase of land west of South Hulen Street, within the Tanglewood zone. The district has not disclosed potential sites for the proposed Tanglewood project.

The master plan is supposed to guide facilities development for the future and Scribner has stressed that it will be driven by learning needs.

The district also is looking at ways to ease an overcrowding problem raised by parents whose children attend the World Languages Institute, and is tracking growth at Clifford Davis Elementary School. A new building is being proposed for the all-boy Young Men’s Leadership Academy, housed at the Dunbar 6th Grade Center at 5100 Willie St.

Supporters of the World Languages Institute were among people who addressed the campus’ future during the public comment portion of the meeting. In recent months, parents from Tanglewood and the institute have expressed worries about how their school communities will be impacted by the different proposals reviewed by the district. At the institute, parents are worried that the school will be split and that programs that were promised won’t be added.

The long-term plans for the institute include a free-standing building at Western Hills High School. The existing campus on Magnolia Avenue is recommended to be sold, according to the plan. Young Men’s Leadership Academy is recommended to be relocated to the Dunbar High School campus.

The projects will likely be part of a future bond election. A recent budget presentation targeted Aug. 15 as a potential day to discuss a bond election for November. Details are yet to be worked out.

Scribner’s recommendation came after several community meetings, a town hall meeting and surveys with members of the community. No Tanglewood parents spoke during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting. Many had weighed in on the issue at several previous meetings.

“We are looking forward to working together with the district to have two outstanding schools,” said Tanglewood Principal Connie Smith.

At Tanglewood, neighborhood growth is one reason students experienced overcrowding. Parents complained about a long lunch line and limited student opportunity for library visits. Several Tanglewood supporters asked the district to convert the nearby Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center from a school of choice to a neighborhood campus.

Scribner has said he is open to allowing more children from the neighborhood into the lottery-based program, but that he is not in favor of turning Alice Carlson into a neighborhood school.

This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

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