Construction and technology crews are hard at work on projects designed to enhance the learning environment and opportunities for students.
Projects were funded primarily through the 2018 bond program, passed by voters in November. The remaining projects were funded through the 2014 bond program.
Of the 2018 bond projects, Frisco ISD was able to move most quickly with planning, design and installation of artificial turf on baseball and softball fields at three high schools, as well as the creation of new parking and paved practice areas for marching band at nine high schools.
FISD also began the rollout of a higher student to technology ratio a year early, thanks in part to 2018-19 operating funds. The District was able to purchase more new computers and mobile devices to increase students’ access to technology as part of an annual refresh of aging technology. Several libraries and common areas also received new flexible seating, which can be easily configured to meet the needs of the students and teachers.
Most improvements will be in place by the start of school.
The turfing project includes replacing grass baseball and softball fields at Frisco, Independence and Reedy high schools with artificial turf, as well as constructing turfed batting cages and pitching tunnels at all high schools. Artificial turf requires less field maintenance than natural grass and prevents rainouts because of its superior drainage.
The three schools were chosen for the turf fields based on their location, field size and ability to host revenue-generating tournaments and playoff games. Considerations included accessibility, parking space and a distance to the outfield fence that appeals to most teams selecting a neutral site.
FISD also replaced the turf this summer at Memorial Stadium, ensuring the District-owned facility continues to provide a safe surface for students to practice and compete.
Parking Expansion/Marching Fields
There will also be more parking space for high school drivers and visitors in the coming year. The District is wrapping up the addition of new paved areas at nine campuses, with the exception of Frisco High School.
The new pavement will either be used for parking or marching band practice, which will allow existing parking lots to be used exclusively for parking. Paved areas are preferred for marching, as mud, heat and insects can present challenges when maintaining grass areas for band practice.
The marching band at Frisco High School already practices on pavement, and parking was added at FHS when the new auditorium opened on campus in 2013.
New Technology & Flexible Seating
A total of 14 campuses received new classroom and campus instructional technology this summer, and several more received new TVs, phones or network and wireless updates. Others received new library furniture or the library was remodeled. In addition, several elementary campuses received new flexible seating in pod areas, giving teachers and students increased options and greater choice in how to use the space. See a full list.
At the campuses receiving new computers and mobile devices, students will have increased access to technology through devices in the classroom, mobile carts and computer labs. The higher ratio will be the standard in Frisco ISD moving forward. The additional technology will provide more opportunities for differentiated instruction based on each student’s individual abilities and learning goals. It will also provide more opportunities for blended learning, which combines online learning with traditional classroom instruction.
Several buildings received new paint, carpet, roofing or heating and cooling replacements/upgrades as part of the District’s regular summer maintenance program. Resurfacing also took place at handful of athletic tracks and tennis courts.
A second phase of significant renovations will continue into the fall at Rogers Elementary, Frisco ISD’s oldest elementary school. The campus, which opened in 1987, received a number of cosmetic updates this summer, as well as architectural changes over the past two summers. The District also replaced worn and dated classroom furniture with flexible seating to accommodate active learning and various instructional styles.
Centennial High School, which has the District’s oldest fine arts auditorium, received a new sound system, LED lighting, stage curtains and rigging.
Work is starting this summer on high school #11, which has yet to be named. The campus, which is being built near Stacy Road and Collin McKinney Parkway in west McKinney, is expected to open to students in 2021.
FISD is also upgrading public address (PA) systems starting this summer at select elementary, middle and high school campuses across the District. Work will continue through March of 2020.
The District anticipates work to begin on elementary school playgrounds this fall and extend throughout the school year. Wood chips will be replaced with a synthetic material, which is accessible and safer for all students. The resurfacing projects will close each playground for approximately two weeks during installation.