By Elsa Maxey
Saying it didn’t make it real, seeing it on a master plan map was more convincing, but now that the Fort Bend Independent School District has purchased land at Telfair, the idea of a new school there probably feels like the real deal to those holding on to that prospect. But the school district, however, may not go for a high school.
There were several accounts last week about a Newland Communities’ announcement of a 65-acre land purchase for a future high school at University Boulevard and Chatham Avenue. This Monday, in statements to the “Star” from Ben Copeland, FBISD’s Chief Auxiliary Services Officer confirming the 65-acre purchase in the Telfair community, he said, “ The land was acquired for the future needs of the district and no determination has been made as to what type (elementary, middle school, high school), or size, of school will be located there. “ He also said the funds to purchase land “for future schools” was authorized by voters in 2007, when they approved a bond referendum.
The price of the land was estimated to be $2,831,000 before a survey, according to the school district’s incoming Communications Director Nancy Porter. “The Board approved a land purchase contract with NNP-Telfair, LP at a price of $1 per square foot at its May 23 Regular Board Meeting,” she said.
Copeland indicated that as part of the 2007 bond package. Funding for an elementary and a middle school had been approved by voters. The elementary school’s planned location is Aliana and the middle school is planned in Glendale Lakes, he stated. But, “There is no money in the 2007 Bond to build a school on the Telfair property.”
Many who bought homes in the Telfair subdivision told Sugar Land Planning and Zoning Commissioners earlier this year that they did it because they were told a high school was to be built in the new neighborhood. In 2003, the City of Sugar Land approved a General Plan for the subdivision and several amendments for the development of this new master planned community. It reportedly showed future FBISD schools, including a high school on 65-acres.
When homeowners heard that the Newland Communities developer was interested in closing out its neighborhood project by constructing more homes on the high school site, they became vocal. In February, the developer said that it had not heard back from the school district about buying the acreage set aside for the high school. Three months later, the FBISD board of trustees authorized the land purchase in Telfair. It was in May, and newly elected school board president Sue Hohnbaum said, “We are looking at purchasing land which is different than building a high school.” This implied that the district could be considering the land for other uses and not a high school or the land purchase did not mean school construction would automatically follow…both of which are apparently the case.
Telfair, a master planned community in Sugar Land, opened in 2006, and during its first four months according to reports, 330 new homes of the current 2,400 homes sold, comprising the rapid, resident growth of this new area. FBISD opened Cornerstone Elementary School in Telfair in 2008.