East Ward Elementary school in Killeen will close at the end of the school year while a new school is constructed, according to the Killeen Independent School District.
KISD Chief Communications Officer Terry Abbott said the new school won't open until the 2021-2022 school year.
Abbott said the new school will be constructed on the current site of East Ward and also serve students living in the West Ward school zone. East Ward Elementary is 60-years-old, said Abbott.
Until then, Abbott said the East Ward students will attend elementary school #35. The school doesn't have a name yet because it won't open until Fall 2019.
Elementary School #35 is located in the White Rock subdivision, between Blue Nile Dr. and Obsidian Dr., Morganite Lane and Pyrite Dr., said Abbott. That's about 15 minutes away from East Ward.
The district held a public hearing about the school closure Thursday evening so parents could have their concerns addressed.
"We're like two and half seconds away from the school, but now he says we're gonna be like 25 minutes away so that was my main concern," said parent Shanice Handy.
"I just want to make sure there was enough staff to make sure that our kids get home safe and are able to get to school safely," said Kristina Ward.
Superintendent Dr. John Craft says the school will be demolished and a brand new one built in it's place to hold both East and West Ward students. During the 2 year construction process, the East Ward students will have to attend a different school about 25 minutes away. However, the district says they've got it covered. Students will be bused to the new school, siblings will ride together, shuttle services will be provided to parents for emergencies or parent teacher conferences and East Ward staff will move to the new school as well.
"This is truly an opportunity and we are so appreciative of our community for approving the bond and allowing us to provide even a better learning opportunity for our students," said Craft.
After the conversation, administrators vowed to take back parent suggestions to tweak the plan even more. While many parents who were at first skeptical, now say they feel more comfortable about the transition.
"I'm actually a lot more confident I think it's gonna be good," said Ward.
"I'm pretty satisfied with what they're going to be doing. They did say that this was an old school so remodeling it is probably the best thing for it," said Handy.
Parents also have the option to apply for a transfer to a different school beginning in the spring.
KISD posted a video to its Facebook page that shows what the new East Ward school could look like.
Abbott said this project is funded from the bond program approved by Killeen ISD voters in May.