Tomball - Magnolia Edition - August 2020

TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 12  AUG. 4 SEPT. 25, 2020

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CN  N PN Since Tomball and Magnolia ISDs announced reopening plans in July—oering families a choice of virtual or face-to-face learning for the semester—local ocials and public health entities urged school districts to delay face-to-face learning.

Tomball, Magnolia ISDs shift to virtual learning for August start Face-to-face learning delayed into September

“It was a priority to get our schools back and operate in Magnolia ISD. We will have to ll in a lot of blanks.”

All Magnolia ISD students will begin virtual learning Aug. 12.

MISD will evaluate the week of Aug. 24 whether is a viable start date. Sept. 8

BY ANNA LOTZ & DYLAN SHERMAN

public health ocials. “It was a priority to get our schools back and operate in Magnolia ISD,” Superintendent Todd Stephens said during a July 20 board meeting. “We will have to ll in a lot of blanks of what [the start of school] will look like.” Stephens said superintendents in Montgomery County received a letter July 20 from both the Montgomery County Public Health District and the County Hospital District asking school

As parents face the decision of send- ing their children back to school this fall, questions remain for local parents and educators. By mid-July, Tomball and Magnolia ISDs had released details about what in-person and virtual learning options would look like and required parents to select an option; however, in late July, the districts delayed in-person instruction through at least Labor Day, following recommendations from Customers hate to come down this road because construction has it backed up for miles bothways.

TODD STEPHENS, MISD SUPERINTENDENT, ON JULY 20

“We know that the decision to begin the school year with remote instruction impacts your family.”

All Tomball ISD students will begin virtual learning Aug. 18.

In-person instruction in TISD will be delayed four

weeks until at least Sept. 15.

MARTHA SALAZARZAMORA, TISD SUPERINTENDENT, ON JULY 22

SOURCES: TOMBALL AND MAGNOLIA ISDSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CONTINUED ON 28

FM2978wideningwill not fully nish until 2022

Hardin Store to Spring Creek and the reconstruction of the FM 2978 bridge over Spring Creek. The 6.7-mile widening began in 2016, accord- ing to TxDOT. While construction timelines have changed multiple times since the widening was rst announced and the full project’s end date has been delayed again, one piece is scheduled to be com- pleted by year’s end. The widening of the Spring Creek bridge is set to wrap up in late 2020 with the widening between Hardin Store Road and Spring Creek following early next year, according to TxDOT information. The widening between FM 1488 and Hardin Store, CONTINUED ON 30

BY DYLAN SHERMAN

Nearby residents, businesses and commuters will have to endure an extra year of construction along FM2978, as the four-year widening project will not be completed until 2022, according to mid-July informa- tion from the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT Public Information Ocer Danny Perez said in a July 10 email the $41.7 million widening project spans three segments: FM 1488 to Hardin Store Road,

RonnieMcCurdy, owner of McCurdy Tire on FM2978

DYLAN SHERMANCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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In Higher Education Bridging the Digital Divide

Lone Star College is providing laptops to make sure our students have the tools they need to succeed.

LoneStar.edu/Laptops

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TOMBALL - MAGNOLIA EDITION • AUGUST 2020

ThankYouHeroes

The Woodlands Hospital | Lakeside Hospital | Springwoods Village Hospital StLukesHealth.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Tomball, Magnolia projects

FROMCHRISSY: Business owners, commuters and residents have endured construction on FM 2978 for several years now. Unfortunately, as outlined in our front-page story, full completion of this project has been extended into 2022.

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Chrissy Leggett, cleggett@communityimpact.com EDITOR Anna Lotz REPORTER Dylan Sherman GRAPHIC DESIGNER Matthew T. Mills ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE April Halpin METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across six metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON

In addition, the start of the school year will look very dierent, especially as districts throughout the Greater Houston area declared plans in late July for a virtual-only start. As the 2020- 2021 school year is just a few days away, we provide a summary of how Tomball and Magnolia ISDs are planning to tackle the new year, both virtually and face to face. Although it will be an adjustment, I wish all students a successful year. Further, as a benet to our readers during this uid time, we are improving our press- to-delivery turnaround, meaning papers get to you with more timely information. Beginning next month, you’ll receive our newspaper Sept. 26-28. We’re moving the delivery date to later in the month starting in September. Continue to utilize our up- to-date daily news coverage at communityimpact.com and/or subscribe to our daily newsletter at communityimpact.com/newsletter to stay informed all month long. Thank you for being a valued reader. Chrissy Leggett, GENERALMANAGER

EDUCATION12 Tomball ISD bond projects take shape ELECTIONS

12

17 Harris County looks at election reform

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 41

New businesses 6

New schools 2

Taco platter 1

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TOMBALL  MAGNOLIA EDITION • AUGUST 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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Pet Supplies Plus

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October. 832-521-3344. www.mobilitycollision.com

CREEKSIDE FOREST DR.

5 Generations Family Eyecare held its soft opening July 20 at 22438 Hwy. 249, Houston. The optometry practice pro- vides eye exams for all ages, contact lens examinations and emergency eye exams. Glasses are also for sale within the oce. 281-925-7576. www.facebook.com/genfamilyeye 6 Chief Executive Ocer Andrew Lamb opened ActionCOACH Northwest Hous- ton on July 1 at 20333 Hwy. 249, Ste. 200, Houston. The business specializes in advice and problem-solving issues businesses may be facing through sales, marketing and team-building strategies. ActionCoach Northwest Houston serves the Tomball, Magnolia, Jersey Village and 7 Louisiana-based fast-food restaurant Raising Cane’s will open a new location in the Vintage Park shopping center later this year. Set to be located at 10950 Louetta Road, Houston, the restaurant is slated to open in October. The menu oers a variety of chicken dishes, such as chicken ngers and sandwiches, and sides including fries, coleslaw and Texas toast. www.raisingcanes.com 8 A new 7-Eleven convenience store is under construction at 22610 Hwy. 249, Tomball. Slated to open in early spring 2021, the Dallas-based convenience store chain is known for its slurpees and self- serve soda fountains, which are available 24/7. 800-255-0711. www.7-eleven.com Louetta areas. 832-982-2252. http://nwh.actioncoach.com COMING SOON

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N. ELDRIDGE PKWY.

TM; © 2019 COMMUNITY IMPACT CO. LICENSING, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

2 Pet Supplies Plus opened a new location at 4130 FM 1488, Ste. 110, Conroe, on May 22. The store oers a variety of merchandise for pets, including food, toys, safety gear and other equip- ment. Pet washing stations, grooming areas, pet consultations and veterinary services are also oered. Products are available for dogs, cats, reptiles, sh and birds. 936-231-8991. www.petsuppliesplus.com 3 La Bella Retreat opened May 8 at

11715 Spring Cypress Road, Tomball. Hair styling and cuts are available to men, women and children. The salon oers anything from Brazilian blowouts to col- orings and updos. 281-543-3239 4 Mobility Collision Center had a soft opening July 1 at 32000 Hwy. 249, Pine- hurst. This is the company’s rst expan- sion outside of its location in Conroe. Mobility Collision Center oers every- thing from collision repairs to damage repairs, repaints and renishes. Mobility Collision Center plans to fully open in

NOWOPEN 1 Christopher Ybanez, co-founder of The Fit Type , celebrated the business’ soft opening July 20 at 24922 Hwy. 249, Ste. 106, Tomball. Ybanez said The Fit Type is dierent from standard gyms as it requires members to sign up for its app or nutrition program to be enrolled. The Fit Type is service-oriented, and its experi- ence is designed to be specic for each member. 832-953-2911. www.thettypecoaching.com

As pediatric dentists, we focus on preventative care to help each child grow a healthy smile that will last a lifetime.

Call and make your appointment today! 281-516-2700 I 455 School St. Suite 42 I Tomball, TX 77375 teethforkidz.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

BY DYLAN SHERMAN & BEN THOMPSON

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WingNuts Express expects to open its drive-thru to customers this August.

COURTESY WINGNUTS EXPRESS

FEATURED IMPACTS COMING SOON WingNuts Express will open in August at 32899 Tamina Road, Magnolia. The eatery will serve naked wings, which have been twice fried, along with a variety of sauces and wae fries. Canned beer, wine and ice cream cups will also be available for purchase to go. Primarily a drive-thru establishment, WingNuts Express will have a large outdoor patio with televisions for customers who prefer to eat onsite. 858-207-8160. www.facebook.com/ wingnuts-express-101401411266969

Raising Cane’s

7Eleven

COURTESY RAISING CANE’S

COURTESY 7ELEVEN

EXPANSIONS 9 Urban Cravings , originally a bakery in Tomball, expanded into a full restaurant July 13 at 411 W. Main St., Tomball. In addition to the bakery, Urban Cravings of- fers savory food from around the world, including Cuban sandwiches, paella and a tamarind pulled pork sandwich to name a few. Urban Cravings also oers a weekly meal plan, starting at $5 per meal. A 15% discount is also available to rst responders, teachers, and state and local employees along with a 20% discount for customers over age 65. 832-896-1120. www.urbancravings.com ANNIVERSARIES 10 2 Guys 1 Pit BBQ and Catering celebrated its one-year anniversary at its Tomball restaurant July 25. The restau- rant, located at 11711 Spring Cypress Road, Tomball, oers traditional bar- becue including brisket, ribs and pulled pork. 832-559-3923. www.2guys1pitbbq.com 11 Patra’s Thai Cuisine celebrated its rst business anniversary in Magnolia on July 19. Located at 32823 FM 2978, the Thai restaurant serves authentic Thai food, which is made-to-order for its customers. 281-789-7051. www.facebook.com/patrasthaicuisine 12 After serving the Magnolia commu- nity for ve years, Pizzaiolo’s Gourmet Pizza celebrated its anniversary in early July. Located at 18304 FM 1488, Ste. 1, the restaurant serves a variety of gour- met pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, salads and desserts. Drive-thru, dine-in and delivery options are available. Pizzaiolo’s also has locations on Hardin Store Road and in Brenham. 281-789-7189. www.

facebook.com/ pizzaiolos-magnolia-1620581244821008 IN THE NEWS 13 BJ Services , an oil service company located at 11211 FM 2920, Tomball, led for bankruptcy, according to a July 20 company news release. Warren Zemlak, president and chief executive ocer for BJ Services, said in the release that every possible outcome had been exhausted prior to ling petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. He said the industry’s continued “unprecedented uncertainty” caused by volatile com- modity markets and signicantly less demand due to the coronavirus pandemic led to the company ling for bankruptcy. BJ Services is in the process of selling its cement business and portions of its hydraulic fracturing business, to minimize the number of jobs impacted, according to the release. www.bjservices.com Tomball ISD announced its partner- ship with The Woodlands-based Axiom Medical on July 20 to provide health care support for district sta, including sta members prescreening daily for COVID-19 conditions via its CheckIn2Work app, amid the coronavirus pandemic this school year, according to a district release. Axiom Medical is an occupational health services and incident case management provider for employers. The partnership is the rst of its kind for Axiom Medical, CEO and President Mark Robinson said. Axiom will provide medical monitoring for aected district sta, 24/7 phone access to licensed medical professionals, and ongoing education to reduce the spread of illness in the workplace as well as facilitate return-to-work clearance for aected sta members, according to the release. www.tomballisd.net

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The new restaurant is planning for an August opening.

COURTESY KITCHEN 1488

COMING SOON Owner Je Mcghee plans to open Kitchen 1488 , a new restaurant inspired by Louisiana comfort food, this summer at 4130 FM 1488, Ste. 102, Magnolia. The eatery will feature a menu of traditional soups, salads and American fare alongside Southern specialty dishes, such as boudin egg rolls, shrimp and grits, seafood nachos and po’boys. www.kitchen1488.com

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TOMBALL  MAGNOLIA EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ

Driver license oces reopen for renewal, replacement services The Texas Department of Public Safety expanded its in-person services to oer more appointments at oces across Texas in July. BY NICHOLAS CICALE

CURRENT DESIGN

EXIT

ENTRANCE

According to a news release by the department, driver license oces were closed in March due to coronavirus safety restrictions. In May, the DPS reopened oces for appointments, including rst-time Texas licenses, commer- cial driver licenses and learner licenses. The second phase of reopening announced July 7 expanded those services to include in-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement. According to the department, about 700,000 Texans have had a driver license expire during the closures. Those with licenses that expired on or after March 13 have been granted extensions; those expired licenses are still valid and will be until up to 60 days after the state lifts the extension,

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according to the news release. The state had not lifted the extension as of press time July 28. Appointments can be made online. In-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement are now being oered at driver license oces.

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PROJECT UPDATES

Spring Cypress ramp reversal The Texas Department of Transportation is working to reverse the Hwy. 249 north- bound entrance and exit ramps between Jones Road and Spring Cypress Road. According to TxDOT Public Information Ocer Danny Perez, the project will reverse the existing entrance/exit ramp conguration to an exit/entrance congu- ration and shift the new exit ramp to the south to eliminate the queue of vehicles that previously formed from the frontage road back to the Hwy. 249 main lanes because of the exit ramp being close to the signalized intersection at Hwy. 249 and Spring Cypress Road. Community Impact Newspaper previously reported the project was set to nish in July, but the completion date has been pushed to September. Timeline: April 20-early September Cost: $2.2 million Funding source: TxDOT

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Holderrieth Road improvements A Harris County Precinct 4 project is in the design phase to improve Hold- errieth Road between Hwy. 249 and Hufsmith-Kohrville Road. The project will widen Holderrieth Road to a four-lane concrete pavement section and improve drainage. Additionally, a trac signal will be installed at Cherry Street and Hold- errieth Road with further trac signal modications as needed. Timeline: TBD Cost: TBD Funding sources: Harris County Precinct 4 mobility funds, Community Develop- ment Block Grant funds

Grand Parkway, Hwy. 249 connectors Construction is underway for four direct connectors linking Hwy. 249 and the Grand Parkway on the intersection’s south side in Tomball, funded by the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Wil- liams Brother Construction was awarded the 27-month contract, and storm sewer construction began in July. Additionally, utility adjustments and foundation work for the direct connectors are underway with construction of columns beginning soon, HCTRA ocials said. Timeline: March 17, 2020-June 2022 Cost: $92 million Funding source: HCTRA

Zion Road improvements A project to widen a portion of Zion Road to four concrete lanes is in the study phase, according to Precinct 4 informa- tion. The project widens Zion Road be- tween Boggs Gully—just east of Raleigh Creek Drive—and Hufsmith Road and improves drainage accommodations. The project also calls for Precinct 4 to pursue trac signal installation as warranted, said Pamela Rocchi, the director of Pre- cinct 4 Capital Improvement Projects. Timeline: TBD Cost: TBD Funding source: Harris County Precinct 4 mobility funds

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JULY 16. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT TOMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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TOMBALL  MAGNOLIA EDITION • AUGUST 2020

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Developments underway in Tomball and Magnolia

Tomball home construction adding up

Projectsmove along inMagnolia

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BY DYLAN SHERMAN

Magnolia City Administrator Don Doering said in June that develop- ments in the city are still progressing despite the coronavirus. “Really, HEB is the only [develop- ment] that has been aected,” he said. “We are still going forward with water and sewer [expansions and] road programs, so we are real optimistic and positive.” HEB—part of Magnolia Place, which includes residential areas—was put on hold in May. However, Doering said Magnolia Ridge has new homes being built, and Audubon Magnolia and Mill Creek are moving forward later this year. Just south, Lennar opened its 94-home Arbor Trace in June.

BY ANNA LOTZ

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More than 1,900 homes are planned in the city of Tomball as part of residential developments that have yet to reach buildout, according to information released June 10 by the city. Although Tomball Community Development Director Craig Meyers said in June that most meetings with developers have dropped o or been held virtually during the coronavirus pandemic, the city has continued to see new interest. “I haven’t seen any changes. In fact, I’ve seen, if anything, an uptick, especially in residential. Our permits are up,” Meyers said. “[The developments] were already on their way before the pandemic hit, so they didn’t slow down. … There’s still excitement for devel- opment in this area; there’s still interest for development in this area that I’ve seen.” Wood Leaf Reserve is perhaps the newest proposed development in the city, adding 299 homes and 4 acres of commercial space near Theis Lane. Representatives with Chesmar Homes, the builder for the proposed community, presented to council June 16. “There may be a little slowdown months from now. I don’t know,” Meyers said. “There could be a trickle eect six months down the road.”

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MILL CREEK RD.

MILL CREEK

1 Alexander Estates Under construction 251 homes Cherry Pines Under construction 268 homes 2 4 Grand Junction Under construction 49 homes Under construction 52 homes 3 Copper Cove

Raleigh Creek (Sections 1-6) Under construction 271 homes Raburn Reserve In design 400 homes

Reserve at Spring Lake Under construction 111 homes Timber Trails Under construction 105 homes

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10 Tomball Heights Under construction 105 homes 11 Wood Leaf Reserve Proposed 299 homes

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Raleigh Creek (Sections 7-8) In design 66 homes

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SOURCE: CITY OF TOMBALLCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY Tomball predicts 5%-10%drop in current revenue

NUMBERS TOKNOW Here are some highlights from Tomball’s budget workshops in July. The city anticipates revenue falling 5%-10% below what was budgeted by the end of FY 2019-20. General fund reserves remain at 53% for FY 2020-21 despite an approximately $8 million overall decrease in reserves from FY 2019-20. The draft FY 2020-21 budget plans for revenue to increase 1%-2% above the FY 2019-20 year-end total, which is still lower than what was budgeted for FY 2019-20.

BY ANNA LOTZ

with a requirement of keeping only 25% in reserves. The overall dip is largely attributed to capital projects in the works, such as drainage, utilities and alleyway projects, Hauck said. With department cuts, training budgets for police and fire were reduced by 25%, Hauck said. How- ever, Fire Chief Randy Parr said this primarily included cuts to travel and out-of-town seminars. “We do have the ability to train our firefighters appropriately, and that’s all we really need to do,” he said. Hauck recommended a 2% salary increase July 6 for employees, over which council members were divided. As such, Hauck outlined three scenarios July 20, should sales tax revenue be down 20%-30%, more than the city is projecting. The sce- narios range from cutting $800,000 in supplemental items and reducing an allotment for a mid-year pay increase by 50% to eliminating a pay

there will be a slight increase,” he said. After 9.25% and 24.56% year-over- year drops in March and April sales tax collections, respectively—a major source of revenue for the city—Tom- ball saw collections for May increase 0.14% year over year, according to data from the Texas comptroller of public accounts. “[These] are sales tax trends that are more volatile than I have ever seen in my time as a city manager,” Hauck said in an interview. “That just means we, by design and for good reason, are micromanaging our budget like we have never had to in my time.” The FY 2020-21 budget totals $54.63 million, Hauck said July 6. Also, the city’s property tax rate for FY 2020-21 remains at $0.341455 per $100 valuation. Despite a nearly $8 million drop in reserves, Hauck said the city maintains 53% of its annual operating expenses in general fund reserves,

By the time fiscal year 2019-20 wraps up Sept. 30, the city of Tomball anticipates general fund revenue will fall about $1.3 million below budget, or by 5%-10%, due to the coronavirus pandemic, City Manger Rob Hauck said during a budget workshop July 6. However, with restricted expenses, there is only a gap of $330,820. “This is even more unusual than normal economic times because we’ve not seen anything like this before. We’ve seen swine flus; we’ve seen hurricanes; we’ve seen floods, oil, economic downturns, recessions, but this is just different and unique,” Hauck said during the workshop. FY 2020-21 begins Oct. 1, and the city is proposing general fund revenue will increase 1%-2% from FY 2019-20’s end, albeit $1 million less than the FY 2019-20 base budget. “Once we take this year’s hit, basically, which takes us through September, by the time we get 12 months down the road, we believe

DATES TO KNOW:

Final budget presented: Aug. 3 Public hearings: Aug. 3, 17 Budget vote: Sept. 7

SOURCE: CITY OF TOMBALL/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

increase altogether. “It’s important to note that...none of these scenarios include the myriad of other expenditure reduction strat- egies available to us, depending on what the future economic situation is. This doesn’t take into consid- eration freezing positions that are open positions and not filling them. This doesn’t take into consideration reduction in departmental operating budgets,” Hauck said.

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TOMBALL - MAGNOLIA EDITION • AUGUST 2020

EDUCATION Several Tomball ISDbond-funded projects set to nish this year

BOND BUDGET

Current budgets for Tomball ISD’s big-ticket items dier from initial funds allotted in the district’s $275 million bond referendum in November 2017. GRAND OAKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Completion: August Builder: Gilbane Building Co.

Current budget

Initial allocation

$28.61 million

BY ANNA LOTZ

Grand Lakes will accommodate 1,500 students in grades 7-8, according to the release. District stadium construction is scheduled to nish in May 2021, seating 10,000 spectators with 3,000 parking spaces, an increase from 7,500 seats at the existing stadium. The stadiumwill also feature a 25,000-square-foot community center; locker rooms; and athletic training, kitchen and administration areas, according to the release. Beyond the educational complex, additional bond-funded projects are taking shape. TISD ocials said during a May 11 meeting a few projects were ahead of schedule because facilities were not being used for on-campus instruction at the end of the 2019-20 school year. “As far as not having students at Tomball Memorial, we’ve actually been able to escalate in timing,” Superintendent Martha Sala- zar-Zamora said May 11. Salazar-Zamora said at the time that the $45.85 million Tomball Memorial High School expansion project was about a month ahead of schedule. “We didn’t even plan on doing the beginning of the demolition until after school was out. They’re already doing it,” Chief Financial Ocer Jim Ross said May 11. The 155,000-square-foot high school expansion will increase capacity from 2,250 students to 3,000, according to the release, and will increase the numbers of classrooms, science labs, gyms and Center for

$31 million

Two projects from Tomball ISD’s 2017 bond referendum are slated to wrap up in August, with additional facilities complete by summer 2021, according to a July 1 release from Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc., the rm serving as programmanager for TISD’s bond referendum. Voters approved the $275 million bond referendum in November 2017 to accommodate projected enrollment growth to 19,500 total students by 2021, according to the release. Grand Oaks Elementary School, with a total budget of $28.61 million, is set to open in August in the Elmer and Dorothy Beckendorf Educational Com- plex at Cypress Rosehill Road and the Grand Parkway and will accommodate 900 students in grades K-4, accord- ing to TISD and LAN information. However, TISD has delayed in-person instruction to at least Sept. 15. Grand Lakes Junior High School and a district stadium, totaling $99.49 million, are also underway at the complex and are expected to nish in 2021 after delays. “We have faced various challenges from delays in land acquisition to changes in building code regulations after Hurricane Harvey to issues related to county building permits,” LAN Vice President JP Grom said. “These facilities will serve Tomball ISD students for the next 50-75 years and provide them the environment and infrastructure needed to succeed in the 21st century.” Once completed in July 2021,

TOMBALL MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL EXPANSION Completion: June 2021 Builder: ICI Construction Inc.

TOMBALL MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL NATATORIUM Completion: December Builder: Gamma Construction Co. Grand Oaks Elementary School will open in August and will accommodate 900 students.

$45.85 million

$48.26million

DISTRICT STADIUMAND COMMUNITY CENTER Completion: May 2021 Builder: Gilbane Building Co.

$13.52 million

$48.54million

$15 million

$51.28million

TOMBALL HIGH SCHOOL AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE PROJECT CENTER Completion: August Builder: Sterling Structures, Inc.

GRAND LAKES JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL Completion: July 2021 Builder: Gilbane Building Co.

$50.94million

$68.38million

$7.08million $7.11 million

SOURCES: TOMBALL ISD, LOCKWOOD, ANDREWS & NEWNAM INC.COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Adaptive Technology in Education labs. The expansion will also provide more space for performing arts and dining areas as well as renovate about 54,000 square feet of athletic, performing arts and CATE instruc- tional areas. The expansion is slated for completion in June 2021. Ross also said in May the $2.1 million Tomball Intermediate School entrance renovations were ahead of schedule. Furthermore, an agricultural science project center at Tomball High School will open in August. On the Tomball Memorial High

10x10 storage OR 25’ long-term parking $ 49 /mo of our projects and for the opening of Grand Oaks Elementary and our agricultural science project center in August.” School campus, a 26,000-square-foot natatorium is also slated for com- pletion in December with a 25-yard stretch pool, locker rooms, a training room, oces and equipment rooms, according to the release. “As a fast-growth district, Tomball ISD has worked tirelessly to uphold a standard of excellence across all aspects of our district,” Sala- zar-Zamora said in the release. “With that, we are excited about the progress

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION

Private, homeschool programs see greater interest amid fall uncertainty

GROWING ALTERNATIVES

BY ANNA LOTZ

attitudes that are being pushed [by the state] in the public school system about history, your race and what’s right and wrong.” Honeycutt said she believes standardized testing has also pushed more families to choose homes- chooling in recent years. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows 3% of students ages 5-17 in the U.S. were homeschooled in 2007; that figure grew to 3.3% of students in 2016. In April, a national survey by RealClear Opinion Research found 40.8% of the 626 respondents were more likely to enroll their children in homeschool or virtual school after stay-at-home orders end. “Right now, something like 3% of families homes- chool. What if 40% of families homeschool in the fall? What does that do to our education system? What does that do to all these schools that we’ve built?” Eaton said. Ibrahim Firat, founder of Firat Education—a Houston-based educational consulting firm—said he believes families are looking at how public schools responded to COVID-19 and conducted remote learning this spring as they choose from public or private education for the fall. He claims private schools are attractive because they often have smaller enrollment and can more easily

In Tomball and Magnolia, private school and homeschool enrollment had already been increasing prior to COVID-19, data shows.

As uncertainty hovers around the upcoming school year, local private and homeschool educa- tion advocates said they are seeing greater interest. “Since COVID[-19], I receive multiple requests daily on, ‘What is [your] program?’; ‘How are [you] going to look in the fall?’; How easy is it to transition ... back to public school?’” said Morgan Honeycutt, founder of Magnolia Heritage Academy. She said the hybrid program, which offers classes and support for homeschooling families, has seen significant growth in its three years in Magnolia. Last year, 61 students were enrolled, growing to 96 students this year with a waitlist, she said. As such, the program has added to its two- and three-day on-campus options to expand capacity, she said. In a third option, students participate virtually in classes on Mondays and on-campus two Fridays a month when other classes are not held. At Extraordinary Education in Magnolia, another hybrid homeschool program, Director Elise Eaton said the center has also noticed an uptick in inqui- ries this summer. However, she said she believes the coronavirus pandemic is only one factor of increased interest in homeschooling. “The COVID[-19] regulations are one aspect of it,” Eaton said. “Not everybody’s on board with the

*Ages 3-19

2018

2013

Enrollment within Tomball and Magnolia ISDs’ boundaries

PRIVATE +58.57% 4,328 6,863 PUBLIC +9.51% 24,537 26,871

Also, according to the Texas Homeschool Coalition, homeschooling in Texas increased by an average of 7% annually for the last 20 years.

SOURCES: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU 5-YEAR ESTIMATES, TEXAS HOMESCHOOL COALITION/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER facilitate the transition to remote learning. “They can pivot much faster, much more effectively than public schools can,” he said. “We’re expecting some sort of increase in enrollment or at least inquiries [for private schools], but private schools also have a duty to maintain their commu- nity standards as well as their safety and health guidelines.”

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION

REOPENING PREPARATIONS Lone Star College System has prepared to open 24 buildings for the fall semester, when both in-person and online instruction will be available.

Lone Star College Systemforms strategy to safely reopen in fall

BY ANDREW CHRISTMAN

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

for masks, officials said. “There are going to be certain programs, like vet tech, that would require more [personal protective equipment], but those would require in a non-COVID[-19] situation anyways,” Scott said. Scott said the 24 buildings that have been reopened across LSCS have been thoroughly cleaned, and if a student or staff member tests positive for coronavirus, the building the individual was in will be closed for further sanitation. LSCS is also using stimulus funding to provide 5,000 loaner computers to students in need that can be checked out through the LSCS Office of Technology Services. LSCS received $30 million in Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding, which can also be used to provide grants to help cover student expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care due to coronavi- rus disruptions. As of mid-July, LSCS officials said they were unable to determine how the coronavirus has affected enroll- ment numbers for the fall, as numbers are not publicly available until an audit and verification is completed. LSCS Media Relations Manager Bill Van Rysdam said the report will be complete in September. Information from LSCS states the college had 87,656 students for the fall 2019 semester—a decrease since 2018, although enrollment was up in the spring year over year.

Lone Star College System is planning a combination of online and in-person classes for the upcoming fall semester, with classes beginning Aug. 24. “We understand there continues to be uncertainty, but it is important for students to know their safety is our number-one priority,” LSCS Chancellor Stephen Head said in a news release. According to a press release from LSCS, the fall 2020 semester will consist of 50% online classes, 25% a combination of online and face-to- face courses, and the remaining 25% face-to-face classes. The buildings open in the fall will be limited to students who are taking classes with face-to-face instruction, officials said. Students and instruc- tors will be required to undergo a temperature check, wear a mask and complete a health questionnaire when entering a building. “We have asked the college presidents to be creative and inno- vative in their planning by offering block scheduling, afternoons, nights, Friday, Saturday and, where needed, Sunday classes to meet the needs of our students,” Head said. “We are also preparing contingency plans to shift back to 100% online classes if the situation warrants in the fall.” Kyle Scott, vice chancellor of stra- tegic priorities, said other precautions include designated entrances and exits and distribution of face masks for students who do not have them. The college has $4 million budgeted

Social distancing markers

Cleaning/sanitizing buildings

Temperature checkpoints

Masks provided for students

ENROLLMENT OVER THE YEARS Lone Star College System tracks annual student enrollment, which showed year- over-year growth in spring 2020 despite the pandemic. Key: Fall* Spring

FALL OPTIONS Half of Lone Star College System classes will be online only this fall.

50%

Online

89,413 89,150

87,656

Online/ in-person hybrid

25%

82,111

83,970 84,179

In-person 25%

81,126

2017

2018 2019 2020

SOURCE: LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Spring

985-STUDENT increase between 2019 and 2020

SOURCE: LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER *FALL 2020 ENROLLMENT DATA IS NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL SEPTEMBER.

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TOMBALL - MAGNOLIA EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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all activities outdoor

social distancing observed

6th Annual Cactus Jack’s Campfire

Saturday, October 3, 2020 • 4:30 - 6:30 PM • Family Fun For All Tomball vfw hall post 2427 • 14408 Alice Road • Tomball, TX • 77375

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Live Music • Dinner Tickets Available Online & At The Door • Suggested BBQ Dinner Ticket Donation Of $5.00 Veterans & Seniors Eat For Free Children (12 & Under) Eat For Free Children’s Activities Petting zoo • S’Mores Station • Armadillo races • longhorns • Coloring area

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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