LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION 2022
HEALTH CARE EDITION
VOLUME 13, ISSUE 5 JUNE 16JULY 13, 2022
Area hospital systems invest billions in expansions to keep pace with Central Texas population boom
In the coming years, hospital systems and health care providers in Central Texas will invest almost $2.5 billion to grow their physical footprint by building new facilities or expanding existing ones. Creating capacity
BY CLAIRE SHOOP
in the nation. Andy Davis, the CEO for Ascension Texas, a major health care system that includes Ascension Seton and Dell Children’s, said based on pro- jections, within 10 years the metro area will have a 1,200-bed decit. “The great thing about Central Texas is the community is growing in every direction, and so it presents a unique opportunity for us to make sure that we’re doing all we can to be present in a way that keeps families close to home and together,” Davis said. Bringing care to the community One hospital system making a major investment in physical infrastructure is
Central Texas is on pace to gain more than 600 hospital beds in the next three years, including two new hospitals in growing suburban areas, two new chil- dren’s hospitals in Northwest Austin, a new behavioral health hospital and expansions at seven existing facilities. Combined, three major health care systems are investing almost $2.5 billion in physical infrastructure to increase access to services and meet the needs of the growing region. Hospital ocials said the additional space is necessary to care for the pop- ulation of a rapidly expanding region, with Williamson and Hays counties ranking as some of the fastest growing
637 NEW HOSPITAL BEDS have been announced or are under construction at 12 hospitals across three health care systems.
St. David’s HealthCare
Texas Children’s Hospital 52 BEDS AT
160 BEDS AT
425 BEDS AT
By 2032, Central Texas is projected to need an additional 1,200 HOSPITAL BEDS. 3 FACILITIES 8 FACILITIES 1 FACILITY
SOURCES: ASCENSION TEXAS, ST. DAVID’S HEALTHCARE, TEXAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
CONTINUED ON 42
Overdose deaths reach ‘crisis’ level in Travis County
Top 4 causes of accidental deaths Drug toxicity
Drug toxicity was the leading cause of accidental death in Travis County in 2021. SOURCE: TRAVIS COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
BY DARCY SPRAGUE
that her organization is using to prevent overdose deaths. The purpose of the town hall was to urge local leaders to dedicate more resources toward combating drug overdoses, which the Travis County medi- cal examiner would state in late
May was the leading cause of accidental death in 2021 for the county. “My question to policymakers is when is enough, enough?” said Nova Skye, outreach coordinator for the THRA, a nonprot that
In early May, Cate Graziani, president of the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance, stood on a stage in front of a veritable who’s who of local government o- cials holding a bag of supplies, some illegal under Texas law,
Motor vehicle fatality
CONTINUED ON 44
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS MONTH
FROM TAYLOR: A report from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s oce shows overdose as the leading cause of accidental death in Travis County in 2021. Central Austin Editor Darcy Sprague examines this on Page 44. In light of this report, and the ongoing mental health crisis, I hope you will use this year’s Health Care Edition as a resource and consider consulting a mental health professional if you are in need. Taylor Caranfa Stover, GENERAL MANAGER
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FROM JENN: Welcome to our annual Health Care Edition. We have worked hard to bring you stories from the Westlake- Lake Travis area that reect how members of the community take care of their well-being. We have included less mainstream practitioners whose treatments run more than skin deep. I am excited to explore ways to take a break from life and recharge. Jennifer Schaefer, EDITOR
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LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION • JUNE 2022
Businesses that have recently opened, are coming soon or relocating
PACE BEND PARK
Flip Flop Shops
HILL COUNTRY BLVD.
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metric workouts for up to three members or 15-minute high-intensity interval train- ing sessions for two to three members. 512-790-8295. www.hotworx.net 5 The Learning Experience Lakeway opened May 31 at 1602 N. RM 620, Austin. The location oers parents pre- school curriculum through its Learning Experience Academic Program, which prepares children from ages 6 weeks-5 years old for educational challenges they will face when entering primary school. 512-294-2147. www.thelearningexperience.com 6 Food truck Namaste Austin opened at Fetch Food Park, 17499 Hamilton Pool Road, Austin, on May 7. The food truck serves Indian cuisine such as Aloo tikki and butter chicken, alongside a variety of appetizers, curries, beverages and desserts. Namaste Austin is closed on Mondays. https://namasteaustinus.com/ 7 Patrizi’s opened a location in West- lake on May 12 at 1705 N. Cuernavaca Drive, Austin. The authentic Italian restaurant serves a variety of fresh, homemade pasta dishes made with local eggs, semolina our, salt and nutmeg. The restaurant serves dishes such as pomodoro, carbonara and its signature red-sauce fettuccine along with salads, garlic bread and other sides. It also has vegetarian and vegan options. 512-522- 4834. www.patrizis.com 8 SpiceBox International Grocery Store opened in Lakeway at 3100 S. RM 620, Ste. 200, Lakeway, in April. The shop sells international spices; groceries; fresh produce; halal meat; and other Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern food and snacks. 512-963-2868. www.spiceboxgrocery.com
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NOW OPEN 1 Austin interior design and construc- tion rm The Pankonien Group opened a showroom and retail space called Bleu in Westlake in April. Located in Davenport Village at 3801 N. Capital of Texas Hwy., Ste. C-160, Austin, the new location sells high-end new and vintage home accessories, gifts and more, handpicked by lead designer Laura Pankonien. 512-400-4194. www.bleubytpg.com 2 Luxury lifestyle boutique The Empo- rium opened at the Hill Country Galleria
in May. Alongside home goods, apparel and accessories, the shop also carries multiple luxury brands such as Citizens for Humanity, Electric and Bella, and others. The Emporium additionally oers interior design services. The shop is at 12912 Hill Country Blvd., Ste. F-130, Bee Cave, and owned by Ashley Ferguson and her brother Bradley Bates. 512-394-6222. www.theemporiumatx.com 3 Flip Flop Shops held a grand opening ceremony for its new Lakeway location May 15. Located at 1310 S. RM 620, Ste. C7, Lakeway, the locally owned shop
oers popular beach lifestyle footwear brands, such as Hey Dude, Oofos, Crocs and more, along with other items, such as shirts, caps and sunscreen. The shop held a soft opening April 1. 737-203-9092. www.ipopshops.com 4 The infrared tness studio HotWorx opened a new location in May in the Shops at the Galleria at 12801 Shops Parkway, Ste. 300, Bee Cave. Hotworx is a virtually instructed exercise program that combines the benets of infrared heat with a variety of sauna workouts available 24 hours. The studio oers 30-minute iso-
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The Learning Experience Lakeway
Maple Street Biscuit Co.
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9 Vivel Crepes opened a second lo- cation inside Hill Country Indoor in May. The cafe is open to the public, and the entrance is inside the athletic facility, which is at 13875 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave. The cafe serves sweet and savory crepes along with breakfast dishes, pastas, paninis, custom superfood bowls and more. The cafe also oers coee and tea options as well as smoothies. The full menu is available all day, and all ingredients are made in house fresh daily. 512-956-9422. www.vivelcrepes.com COMING SOON 10 Maple Street Biscuit Co. plans to open a new location in Bee Cave in the summer. Located west of the Hill Country Galleria at 3944 S. RM 620, Bee Cave, the restaurant will serve comfort food with a modern twist through a variety of biscuits, waes, coee and more. The company has several restaurants throughout the United States, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and others. 737-301- 2600. www.maplestreetbiscuits.com 11 Sage Capital Bank will open a full-ser- vice branch at 12233 N. RM 620, Austin, in mid-June. As a community bank, Sage has operated a loan production oce in Cedar Park since 2015. The bank is now expanding its operations to give customers deposit services. Sage is a community bank system based in Gonzales with branches across Central Texas. 830-672-8585. www.sagecapitalbank.com 12 YogaSix will open a new location in the Hill Country Galleria in late sum- mer at 12800 Hill Country Blvd., Ste. G-130, Bee Cave. The studio will oer six dierent class types for all levels of
experience led by trained teachers. Types of classes oered are beginner, restore, slow ow, hot, power and sculpt and ow. 512-551-0803. www.yogasix.com/ location/bee-cave NEW OWNERSHIP 13 TexStar Chiropractic gained owner- ship of Arise Family & Injury Chiropractic in Bee Cave in March. Located at 11614 Bee Caves Road, Ste. 110, Austin, the Bee Cave clinic is TexStar’s fourth location in the Greater Austin area. The new treating physicians for this location are Michael P. Henry and Bao Q. Tran, locals who have been with the clinic since its time prior to Arise, when it was known as Austin Sports and Wellness Chiropractic Clinic. 512-899- 2228. www.texstarchiropractic.com ANNIVERSARIES 14 Bluebonnet School of Canyon Creek is celebrating its 20th anniversary in June. Bluebonnet School is an independent, family-owned and nationally accredited preschool that explores a diverse curricu- lum through play-based activities. Locat- ed at 10321 Boulder Lane, Austin, and with another location in Cedar Park, the school has been recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a professional membership orga- nization that promotes high-quality early learning for young children. 512-219-5100. www.bluebonnetschool.com IN THE NEWS The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area named Gordon Butler as the chief executive ocer May 16. Butler brings
The practice is led by Victor Hugo and Steve Hargett, International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation world champions.
COURTESY SIX BLADES JIU JITSU
have, the 2,400-square-foot facility has a state-of-the-art spring oor to support training mats and provide a safe environment for instruction, instructor Steve Hargett said. Prior to ocially opening, the facility hosted its rst event May 27, an open house- open mat fundraiser, to raise funds for scholarships for disabled veterans pursuing jiujitsu.
nearly 20 years of experience in edu- cation to the position, including having previously been the principal of Lake Travis High School. Gordon earned a master’s degree in educational adminis- tration from Texas A&M Commerce and is pursuing a doctorate of educational administration from The University of Texas. 512-444-7199. www.bgcautin.org SCHOOL NOTES The Eanes ISD boys’ golf team won the University Interscholastic League 2022 6A State Championship in May for its COMING SOON Residents of Lakeway will have a new jiujitsu training hub with the opening of Six Blades Jiu Jitsu in mid-June, located in the Oak Grove Plaza at 1501 N. RM 620, Ste. B, Lakeway. Instruction is led by Victor Hugo and Steve Hargett, who are both well-accomplished martial artists and International Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu Federation world champions. The practice will oer martial arts instruction to people of all ages and skill levels with the goal of building a community of strong kids and adults who feel condent, prepared and safe. In addition to a building demonstrating the virtues every martial artist should
fth consecutive state title. The team nished 11 under par and secured the program’s 12th championship in Texas. 512-732-9000. www.eanesisd.net The Lake Travis ISD boys’ soccer team won the University Interscholastic League 2022 6A State Championship in April, earning the rst soccer state title in the school’s history and becoming the rst Austin-area boys’ team to win a UIL state championship in soccer. During their championship run, the Cavaliers won their last 14 matches and nished the season 24-3. 512-533-6000. www.ltisdschools.org
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LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION • JUNE 2022
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June & July events
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Westlake’s celebration is at Independent Financial. (Courtesy Westlake Chamber of Commerce)
AREA FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS SPICEWOOD
EXPLORE THE STARS THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE
ENJOY LIVE MUSIC IRON WOLF RANCH & DISTILLERY
Bee Cave Public Library will host a Star Party with the Austin Astronomical Society. The family-friendly event will explore the sky above Bee Cave at The Old Schoolhouse next to the Bee Cave Police Department. The event will be held regardless of the weather, and organizers advise attendees to bring bug spray. 8-10 p.m. Free. 13333 Hwy. 71, Bee Cave. 512-767-6620. www.beecavetexas.gov (Courtesy Bee Cave Public Library)
26 FEEL THE MUSIC The city of Lakeway Arts Committee will host classical pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa as part of its Sunday Afternoon Concert Series. Tamagawa is a professor of music at Southwestern University and has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist across North America, Europe and Asia. His collaboration with violinist Eugene Fodor resulted in more than 30 recitals and a CD of violin and piano music, “Witches’ Brew.” 4-5 p.m. Free. Lakeway Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek Drive, Lakeway. www.lakeway-tx.gov 29 BEAT THE SUMMER HEAT Lake Travis Community Library will hand out free frozen treats from Frios Gourmet Pops. The popsicles come in a variety of avors, ranging from strawberry and orange to Fruity Pebbles and root beer oat. 3-4:30 p.m. Free. Lake Travis Community Library, 1938 Lohmans Crossing, Austin. 512-263-2885. www.laketravislibrary.org 30 LAKEWAY TOWN HALL The city of Lakeway will hold the third meeting in its Town Hall series with City Manager Julie Oakley. The event will focus on updates with the city’s parks, including potential upcoming projects and events. Previous town halls on development and transportation were held in February and April, respectively, and included interactive portions in which residents spoke with city employees at individual tables about certain projects. 5:30-6:30 p.m. Free. Lakeway Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek, Lakeway. 512-314-7500 www.lakeway-tx.gov JULY 16 DONATE BLOOD The Lakeway Community Blood Drive will be at the Lakeway Activity Center. Residents must schedule an appointment to donate, which can be done by visiting www.weareblood.org/donor and searching for Group Code A197 or emailing the coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org. If appointments ll up, residents may use this email to ask to be included on a waitlist. 8 a.m.-noon. Free. 105 Musician Denny Herrin will perform at Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery. Herrin was born in Austin and raised in the Central Texas Hill Country. Located on the distillery’s 15-acre property, the event will also have food from CraigO’s Pizza, specialty cocktails and mocktails, yard games and more. The event is open to all ages. 2-5 p.m. Free. 101 CR 409, Spicewood. 512-970-3203. www.ironwolfranch.com (Courtesy Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery)
Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery will hold its Independence Day Celebration with live music by the Men of Madam Radar, frozen drinks, face painting, food, yard games and more. All ages are welcome, and on-leash pets are permitted. 1-4 p.m. Free entry. 101 CR 409, Spicewood. 512-970-3203. www.ironwolfranch.com The town of Spicewood and the Highland Lakes Lions Club will hold a 4th of July Parade at 9:30 a.m. Those wishing to attend the parade are asked to assemble at 9 a.m. at the Spicewood Post Oce at 121 Spur 191. The parade will make its way from the post oce and end at the Spicewood Community Center at 7901 CR 404. Entries are free and can include decorated bicycles, decorated oats, golf carts or ATVs, riding groups, antique or classic cars, walking groups and pets. All entrants must sign a release of liability form before the parade. For questions, contact Mary Moore at 805- 889-9956 or email@example.com. WESTLAKE The Westlake Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual 4th of July Celebration and Parade in West Lake Hills. Sponsored by H-E-B Westlake, the event will feature a parade and an after-party. The after-party will be in the Independent Financial parking lot with live music, a costume contest and free food. 8:30-11 a.m. Free. Independent Financial, 101 Westlake Drive, West Lake Hills. 512-327-3088. www.westlakechamber.com LAKEWAY The city of Lakeway will host an Independence Day celebration featuring a parade, hot dog reception and reduced entry fee at the Lakeway Activity Center Swim Center. The parade themed “She’s a Grand Old Flag” will kick o at 8:30 a.m., followed by a H-E-B Lakeway- sponsored hot dog reception at the Lakeway Activity Center with live music, food, games and awards at 9:30 a.m. The entry fee for the swim center will be reduced from noon-6 p.m. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Free-$4. Lakeway Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek, Lakeway. 512-314-7532. www.lakeway-tx.gov/718/july-4th-celebration BEE CAVE The Hill Country Galleria will host its annual Independence Day Festival. The event will feature live music, a reworks show, art vendors, food, fair rides, water games and face painting. Over 20 options for food will be available from the Galleria’s eateries, plus festival vendors. Performances include Two Tons of Steel, Southern Angels, Rock Bottom String Band, Robin Mordecai and The Saddle Sores. 4-10 p.m. Free. 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. 512-263-0001. www.hillcountrygalleria.com/events
JUNE 18 FRY SOME FISH
Crosswater Yacht Club will hold its ninth annual CYC Fish Fry. Donations will be accepted for food, and all funds go directly to Folds of Honor, a nonprot foundation that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members. Noon-3 p.m. Free entry. Crosswater Yacht Club, 1505 Hurst Creek Road, Austin. 512-261-5253. Facebook: 9th Annual CYC Fish Fry to Benet Folds of Honor. https://crosswateryachtclub.com 18 KEEP IT COOL The fourth annual Briarcli Ice Cream Social will be sponsored by Bryan Swan Residential. The event includes a classic 1960s ice cream truck, a 22-foot extreme waterslide, a live DJ, door prizes and features the Pedernales Fire Department as special guests. 2-4 p.m. Free. Briarcli Park, 22005 Kyle Drive, Briarcli. Eventbrite: 4th Annual Briarcli Ice Cream Social 19 CELEBRATE WITH BOATS AND BARBECUE The second annual Juneteenth and Father’s Day celebration features beers, barbecue and a boat ride. The all-inclusive boat cruise will feature access to four boats, an open bar, free food, a DJ, exclusive samples of local distilled beverages and more. The event is for individuals 21 and over. 5:30-9:30 p.m. $65-$100. Emerald Point Marina, 5971 Hiline Road, Austin. Eventbrite: 2nd Annual Juneteenth Weekend Fathers Day BBB Boat Ride 21 LEARN THE LANDSCAPE Lake Travis Community Library will host an in- person landscape photography workshop in June with Kim Ortiz, owner of Kim Ortiz Portrait Art. The event will teach participants how to use an iPhone to take photos of owers, plants, trees and other natural landscapes. 11 a.m.-noon. Free. Lake Travis Community Library, 1938 Lohmans Crossing, Austin. 512-263-2885. www.laketravislibrary.org 24 SUPPORT A LOCAL MUSICIAN Groove Knight, a high-energy dance band with more than two decades of performing, will perform from 9 p.m. to midnight at Vincent’s on the Lake. The free, all-ages show features dance hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and today. 5973 Hi Line Road, Hudson Bend. https://www.facebook.com/GrooveKnight
Cross Creek, Lakeway. 512-261-1010. www.lakeway-tx.gov/1618/blood-drive
Find more or submit Lake Travis-Westlake events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.
LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION • JUNE 2022
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TRANSPORTATION UPDATES Bee Cave OKs alternate access road study
COMPILED BY JENNIFER SCHAEFER
A NEW ROUTE Bee Cave is looking into a road that would run parallel to Hwy. 71 and divert trac o of Hamilton Pool road. Road extension New trac signals Existing roadway
CINCA TERRA DR.
On May 18, the city approved Rodriguez Transportation Group to conduct a trac engineering feasibil- ity analysis and transportation plan for a road that would span between Palermo Drive and Bee Caves Road. This alternative access is part of the city’s thoroughfare plan and aims to align the city’s collector roadways south of Hwy. 71, east of Palermo, west of Old Burnet Road and north connecting to Cueva Drive. The study will look at 19 intersec- tions and analyze 11 scenarios, which is more than double what the city initially anticipated. The contract also will include public involvement, with a two- to four-hour public open house to present and obtain comments on the initial study ndings and design options.
LOHMANS CROSSING RD.
OLD BURNET RD. S.
TWIN ACRES RD.
RM 620 median barriers The installation of median barriers on RM 620 was completed May 3, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Crews installed and painted concrete barriers to prevent crossover trac. Timeline: late April-early May Cost: $25,500 Funding source: TxDOT
HAMILTON POOL RD.
SOURCE: CITY OF BEE CAVECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Council Member Andrea Willott said she was interested in nding more ways to have public involve- ment when it comes to informing residents of the potential roadwork. She suggested posting design options online; however, City Manager Clint Garza said he would prefer not to post anything that is still in draft form. In the end, it was decided to form a subcommittee with council mem- bers, city sta and citizens. Garza said he will put an item in front of
council once sta decides how to form the committee. “I think it’s going to be a huge asset for us in having to make decisions on these projects,” Council Member Andrew Clark said. “The fact that there is going to be public input, I think that was always the goal when we started this.” The study is anticipated to begin in July and nish by December, and it is expected to cost no more than $225,667.91.
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JUNE 7. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT LTWNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. begin in mid-June, weather permitting. Roadway construction will begin after the utility work and will include pipe installations and roadway widening. Lane closures are expected. Timeline: late 2021-late 2023 Cost: $13.7 million Funding sources: TxDOT, Travis County Hamilton Pool Road widening Utility work is nearing completion. Work on culvert crossings is set to
TxDOT breaks ground on Loop 360 underpass construction The drive on a portion of Loop 360 will soon be less congested as drivers will have fewer opportunities to be caught by stoplights. Street project which will remove trac signals and be constructed, according to the release. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said, thanks to CEDAR ST.
add underpasses at the intersections, according to a release from the department. A nonsignalized U-turn will also be added at Westlake Drive. North- bound and southbound frontage roads and shared-use paths will also
projects like this that are being funded by the 2016 mobility bond, the city is now in a “golden age of mobility.” The project is expected to cost $72.1 million and be completed by mid-2025.
Ocials from the Texas Department of Transpor- tation along with state and local ocials gathered June 1 at Riverbend Church to kick o the Loop 360 at Westlake Drive/Cedar
TRAVIS COUNTY WANTS TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU Travis County Purchasing Office is located at 700 Lavaca Street Suite 800 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512 854-9700
Visit our website for current solicitations. https://www.traviscountytx.gov/purchasing
WholeEarthProvision.com Austin • Dallas • Houston • San Antonio
LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION • JUNE 2022
Presenting the Top 10 Scholars from the Lake Travis High School Class of 2022:
3901 Bee Caves Rd Austin, Texas 78746
Hunter Kerrigan Kate Hennig
William Peters Akshay Pradeep
On behalf of the Lake Travis school board and Superintendent Paul Norton, we congratulate the Lake Travis High School Class of 2022... Go Cavs!
Class of 2022
We wish our graduates the best of luck at the following high schools:
Austin High School (Academies for Classical Studies, Global Studies, Science & Innovation) Drew School (CA) • Griffin School • Hyde Park School • Liberal Arts and Science Academy McCallum Fine Arts Academy • Regents School of Austin • St. Andrew’s Episcopal School St. Michael’s Catholic Academy • St. Stephen’s Episcopal School • The Hotchkiss School (CT) Westlake High School • Woodberry Forest School (VA)
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
News from Eanes & Lake Travis ISDs
COMPILED BY GRACE DICKENS
DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS EANES ISD The district hosted a Central Texas Best Buddies Friendship Walk to support inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in May. Students from EISD, Lake Travis ISD and Hutto ISD gathered to walk the track at Chaparral Stadium, visit booths and play games to raise more than $36,000 for Best Buddies. LAKE TRAVIS ISD Board of trustees Place 3 Erin Archer was sworn in at the May 18 meeting. Archer is a business owner and mother. She replaces Jessica Putonti, who joined the board in 2018. Archer was sworn in along with board President John Aoueille and Place 5 Trustee Kim Flasch. EANES ISD The district accepted a $2.75 million donation from the Eanes Education Foundation. The funds will help with sta compensation for 2022-23. The district also accepted $150,000 from the Westlake Chap Club for coaching stipends and team travel along with a $31,030 donation from the Barton Creek Elementary School Booster Club for a digital marquee. Eanes ISD board of trustees Meets June 21 at 6 p.m. at 601 Camp Craft Road, West Lake Hills. www.eanesisd.net Lake Travis board of trustees Meets July 20 at 6 p.m. at 607 RM 620, Lakeway. www.ltisdschools.org Leander ISD board of trustees Meets June 23, July 21 at 6:15 p.m. 300 W. South Drive, Leander. www.leanderisd.org MEETINGS WE COVER NUMBER TO KNOW growth in Eanes ISD for 2022- 23 compared to around 9% in previous years 21.4% QUOTE OF NOTE “I THINK REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME OF WHAT HAPPENS ... WE NEED TO KEEP THE HEAT UP, AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND IT’S NOT SUSTAINABLE.” KEN HEPBURN, RESIDENT ON NEW SCHOOL OFF BELL SPRINGS ROAD taxable assessed value of property
Community protests against 24-acre land purchase
Concerns of residents Residents of the area expressed several issues with the purchase of this land for a school. Concerns about topography, water availability and trac hazards were among the chief concerns expressed at the meeting, alongside preserva- tion of the natural landscape and lack of infrastructure in the area to support more people. Several residents said they were not notied of the potential purchase of the land. The plots of land are in the least-populated part of Travis County, according to the Statistical Atlas, which utilizes census data. The population density of south- western Travis County is 84 people per square mile, compared to 646 people per square mile in Hudson Bend, and 861-1,919 people per square mile in Lakeway and Bee Cave, according to the Statistical Atlas. Jessica and Ken Hepburn run a nature resort on the property next to the proposed land purchases. People go there to enjoy the beauty of the nationally treasured Texas Hill Country, which would be ruined in the event an elementary school were to be put on the land next door, Ken Hepburn said. “This is the last bit of Hill Country that exists that’s not big-box stores and stu you can see anywhere,” Jessica Hepburn said. Water was a major point of con- tention for several residents. Being located so far from surface water
LAKE TRAVIS ISD Members of the community came together to discuss updates and next steps for protesting the purchase of roughly 24 acres in the southwestern portion of Lake Travis ISD o Hamilton Pool road south of RM 12 on May 26. Residents said they have been meeting with local ocials such as Hays County Commissioner Lon Shell and Travis County Commissioner Ann Howard, along with the LTISD’s superintendent and others. In April, the district permitted the superintendent to contact land- owners to negotiate a purchase sale agreement for the two plots. Community members initially gathered at the district’s May 18 board meeting to publicly speak against the acquisition, citing a number of concerns. The meeting May 26 brought the community together for a second time at Family Business Beer Co., located just down the street from the proposed purchase site. The land consists of two side-by- side parcels with dierent owners located between the Hamilton Hills and Vista Oaks neighborhoods. The larger 19.58-acre plot of land is at 700 Bell Springs Road, and the smaller 4-acre lot is at 20511 Hamilton Pool Road. School district documents did not specify the intended use for the land; however, the district is in need of elementary schools for the growing population of students, according to the district.
PLOT PROBLEMS Residents’ concerns about building a school on the residential properties include topography, infrastructure and trac.
20511 HAMILTON POOL ROAD 4 ACRES
700 BELL SPRINGS ROAD 19.58 ACRES
Trustees OK 5%-6% midpoint raise for all district employees EANES ISD The board of trustees unanimously approved a 5% midpoint raise for salaried sta and a 6% midpoint raise for hourly sta at its May 10 meeting. Substitute teachers also were included as part of the raises; however, the raise they receive will be added into the raise they received in October when base pay went from $103 to $120 a day. the developers, and even power, all these things that are missing ... all those little things we don’t like, they’re keeping out the high-density developers. I would argue that the lynchpin of it all is water.” supplies, many homeowners and agriculturalists in the area use wells for water. Many have had to dig their wells deeper and deeper as water supplies run low and the Trinity Aquifer grows weaker. The district likely would have to run its own water line out to the school, which would open up more possibilities for further devel- opment in the area, resident and geologist Tom Grith said. “Out here on West Hamilton Pool Road, we’ve got a bit of a house of cards going on,” Grith said. “Between transportation, water and
District buys land for future school
BEE CREEK RD.
• 25 acres • used for future facilities
LAKE TRAVIS ISD Trustees unanimously voted to purchase a $4.5 million plot of land o Bee Creek Road at their May 18 meeting. Located at 4528 Bee Creek Road, Spicewood, the parcel is roughly 25 acres and will be used for future educational facilities, according to the district. The district approved the superintendent or a district representative to move forward with negotiations in March. The land will be paid for out of the
district’s 2018 bond and is near Lake Travis Middle School, o the roundabout at Bee Creek Road and Highlands Boulevard. A project timeline has not been announced.
LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION • JUNE 2022
WATER Travis County experts urge conservation amid decreasing groundwater supplies
Monitoring GROUNDWATER USAGE
The Trinity Aquifer is one of the most highly used groundwater resources in Texas, covering 21,308 square miles.
150 FOOT+ drop in southwestern Travis County middle Trinity Aquifer groundwater levels since 1978
consistent depletion of groundwater resources of “nonrenewable” water resources. From 1978-2018, the water level in the middle Trinity dropped by 150-200 feet in the area south- west of Bee Cave, according to the data. As water levels in the middle Trinity decline, wells must be dug increasingly deeper to reach groundwater. “At some point, you can’t lower your pump any- more, and you have to get a drill deeper,” Hunt said. “At some point, you’re going to run out of aquifer.” The reason for such slow recharge is not entirely clear; however, recent research pinpoints two fault lines on either side as potential culprits, Hunt said. The Bee Creek Fault Zone and the Mount Bonnell Fault sandwich the area southwest of Bee Cave, effectively isolating the aquifer. The area between the two faults has seen the most significant decrease in groundwater levels over time, accord- ing to the data. “We’re drawing water out of rocks that are bound by faults; they’re constrained,” Hunt said. “Nothing is sure in science, but we think that these two features are part of the inherent reason why these rocks are not all that productive. They’re not going to rebound with the next 10-inch rain.” After its creation by the Texas Legislature in 2017 and approval from voters in 2019, the district now receives funds for research to find out more about groundwater in the region. Hunt and others are now working with The University of Texas to conduct studies on the area to determine more information about groundwa- ter supplies. “Surface water and groundwater are intercon- nected,” district President Richard Scadden said. “You can’t talk about one in isolation to the other. The general supply of water in our area is stressed, and this summer, it’s going to be really stressed if all the predictions are true, and we’re all going to need to conserve.”
BY GRACE DICKENS
Groundwater supplies in southwestern Travis County continue to deplete as local entities struggle to manage a public resource trapped beneath private properties, according to a presentation given at Bee Cave City Hall on June 1 from Brian Hunt, a geolo- gist, hydrologist and director of the Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District. Groundwater districts conserve, manage and pro- tect groundwater resources within the boundaries of the district, according to the conservation district’s website. The district extends west from Austin and south of Lake Travis. It is the only entity in Texas with some degree of control over groundwater usage, Hunt said. “Surface water is treated as a state resource. Groundwater, water beneath your property, is a private property right,” Hunt said. “How do you manage a private resource that really is a common pool resource? That’s the challenge for any ground- water district in Texas.” Groundwater in the area is provided by the Trinity Aquifer, a limestone water-transmitting and -storing formation extending narrowly through Central and North Texas. Rain, bodies of water and other factors contribute to the level of water in an aquifer, depending on its location. Aquifers take a certain amount of time to replenish their supply of water following use. The Trinity Aquifer is a complex series of geologic deposits consisting of three parts: the upper, middle and lower Trinity aquifers. The upper Trinity is shallow and at surface level, followed by the subsurface middle Trinity and underlying lower Trinity. Wells in the upper Trinity rely heavily on surface water supplies such as rain and may go dry during a drought, but due to their ability to refill quickly, they are considered “renewable” water supplies. The middle and lower levels of the Trinity Aquifer are slower to replenish, Hunt said. This has led to
1.4 BILLION GALLONS
estimated annual water use in Trinity Aquifer
Tracking THE WELLS
Experts estimated over 2,000 wells to exist in southwestern Travis County. Geologists track water-use data to determine where groundwater supplies are going.
• 0-300 ft. below ground level • Provides 1.4% of annual groundwater pumped • 301-700 ft. below ground level • Provides 36.3% of annual groundwater pumped • 750-1,050 ft. below ground level • Provides 62.3% of annual groundwater pumped
700 ft. LESS PERMEABLE LAYER 1,050 ft.
NUMBER OF WELLS IN LOCAL TRINITY AQUIFER
Middle Trinity: 532 wells
Lower Trinity: 1,490 wells
Total 2,083 wells
Upper Trinity: 61 wells
MILLIONS OF GALLONS PER YEAR USED
Middle Trinity: 523.48 Mgal
Lower Trinity: 897.32 Mgal
Total 1,441.46 Mgal
Upper Trinity: 20.66 Mgal
SOURCE: BARTON SPRINGS EDWARDS AQUIFER CONSERVATION DISTRICT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
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