Pasadena ISD Bond Election       Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Dobie's projected enrollment numbers
prompts look for expansion to campus

With demographic studies predicting that more than 4,400 students could attend Dobie High School by 2008, expansions for the campus are included at part of a $299.88 million bond issue that will face voters on Nov. 2.

The growing number of students is attributed to the many new housing developments being built in the southern portion of the district. The largest contributor to this growth is the Riverstone Ranch subdivision near Dobie. School district officials have been told that 1,350 homes are still be to built in the development which already has 750 homeowners.

The bond issue proposes adding 20 new classrooms to Dobie, which would increase the school's capacity by 500 students. In addition, the athletics, physical education, parking and detention pond additions would be included.

"The growth in our area of the district is obvious," said Dobie Principal Steve Jamail. "A continually rising enrollment starts to affect everything. The number one issue for principals is the safety of the students and once enrollment grows you want to make sure you have the personnel needed to have a safe school. You also want to keep classroom sizes as manageable as possible so that the students may receive more effective instruction."

Other large developments that will contribute to Dobie's enrollment include Centex Homes and Beazer Homes with 630 and 610 homes projected, respectively. An apartment complex at the intersection of Sabo and Beltway 8 will feature 610 units. The Lakes of Golfcrest, located near Riverstone Ranch, is also projected to fuel enrollment.

"There are many factors that are attracting homeowners to the Pasadena school district. In addition to the low interest rates, the price range for 80 percent of the new homes in our district is under $175,000," said Landry. "It is a market that is unique to Harris County and it draws many young families who are looking for starter homes."

Landry also said that the accessibility of the South Belt and southern Pasadena to downtown Houston via Beltway 8, Interstate 45 or Highway 288 makes the area attractive to commuters.

"Affordable housing, coupled with quality schools and good location have helped developments in the South Belt and especially Riverstone Ranch start 214 homes over the past 12 months," said David Jarvis of MetroStudy.

In the past 12 months, two-thirds of new home starts in the district have occurred to the west of Interstate 45 within a two-mile radius surrounding Beltway 8 and Blackhawk Boulevard. "It is a trend we expect to see continue."

Officials say the proposed expansion to Dobie would be an interim solution to alleviate projected growth. If the growth continues at such rapid rates, a sixth high school would be considered in the future.

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