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Education

Fort Worth ISD selects 2 firms as contractors on new Benbrook elementary school

Browbrook elementary.JPG
Jacob Sanchez
/
Fort Worth Report
Fort Worth ISD is planning a new elementary school on an 11-acre site on Jerry Dunn Parkway in Benbrook. (Jacob Sanchez | Fort Worth Report)

Weatherford-based Imperial Construction donated $10,000 to pro-bond PAC in 2021.

Benbrook’s next elementary school is inching closer to construction.

The Fort Worth ISD school board on March 22 tapped two companies, Weatherford-based Imperial Construction and Morales Construction Services of Dallas, to work as the district’s general contractors for the new campus. The contract is worth up to $45 million.

The contract was part of trustees’ consent agenda, a list of items considered routine and that can be approved with one motion. The vote was 8-0.

This was a key step as administrators work toward opening the new school by the start of the 2023-24 academic year. The new Benbrook campus is the first of 25 projects part of a voter-approved $1.2 billion bond, which passed by 57 votes.

Imperial Construction was among one of the largest donors to a political action committee that advocated for Fort Worth ISD’s bond package. The company donated $10,000, according to campaign finance reports. Another firm with established ties to the district that also donated to the PAC is managing the $1.2 billion bond package.

The new elementary school is expected to cost nearly $59.4 million. The new school will alleviate the overcrowded and nearby Westpark Elementary.

“This is the most pressing project we have,” Superintendent Kent Scribner told Benbrook parents at a meeting about the new campus.

Westpark’s enrollment is expected to boom over the next four years. Projections show the number of Westpark students growing to 1,108 students by the 2025-26 school year — an almost 42% increase in enrollment.

Benbrook.JPG
Jacob Sanchez
/
Fort Worth Report
Fort Worth ISD.

The 6-year-old campus currently has 781 students, and already has portable buildings on its grounds. Administrators have stressed that the school cannot hold the number of students projected.

“It has exceeded its capacity,” Deputy Superintendent Karen Molinar previously told parents.

The new campus, which has yet to be named, is expected to have a capacity of more than 1,000 students.

The Benbrook area is the only part of Fort Worth ISD seeing significant growth; overall enrollment has declined.

A new housing development called Ventana is pushing enrollment higher. The neighborhood will eventually cover 492 acres and have more than 1,800 homes when completed. The developer anticipates adding 200 to 250 new homes every year until Ventana is completed.

“As they build more new homes, we’ll see more students coming into Westpark,” Molinar said.