New high school part of growth in Liberty Hill


by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 23 at 5:41 PM

LIBERTY HILL, Texas -- New housing developments, roads and schools are paving the way for growth in Liberty Hill. City and school officials are doing what they can to stay on top of it, starting with a new high school that will open to students this fall.

The new school will hold 1,600 students. That's double the current number of high school students in Liberty Hill ISD, but the superintendent says as they're planning for the next 10 years. They're confident that school will fill up.

Driving into Liberty Hill from Austin, Cedar Park or Leander, everything just seems new.

"I have people come in the shop almost on a daily basis who say, 'I just moved here. I just relocated," said Tina Holbein, who owns Tina's Cottage in Liberty Hill.

Brand new housing developments on the outskirts of town and a freshly-paved toll road gives drivers a reason to commute.

"All roads lead to Liberty Hill," said Liberty Hill ISD Superintendent Dr. Rob Hart.

Dr. Hart says the district is ready for the boom, starting with a new Liberty Hill High School.

"It makes you nervous a little bit making sure you can keep up with the growth. If you ever get behind in this business, you stay behind, and it's hard to catch back up," Dr. Hart said.

The district ended the year with just more than 800 students at the old high school. They put the building at capacity, as well as 12 portable buildings on site. They will start this fall at the new high school. The district estimates they will kick off the year with 950 students. The building can hold 1,600.

"This is our grand staircase that leads us up to the second floor of the academic wing," Dr. Hart said, walking KVUE through the new building.

Right now Liberty Hill is a 3A district, but Dr. Hart expects it will grow into 4A in no time.

"I never thought I'd see that here," Holbein said.

At her store she sells jewelry, homecoming mums, and anything related to the Liberty Hill Panthers.

"It's always about the purple and the gold. I set up a panther world room that has all things panther and all things paws," she said.

As a parent and business owner she says the school district expansion is a good thing and so is the expected growth in the town.

"I hope to see it grow more, it helped everybody's business," Holbein said.

So as crews put the finishing touches on this school, what used to be a small town is ready for something bigger.

The new high school is part of an $86 million bond passed in 2010. It also includes renovations at the junior high, intermediate school, and administration building. Dr. Hart also tells KVUE the next step will be new elementary schools in the district.