Union Park Elementary

Construction crews, shown here last month, have started work on Denton ISD’s Union Park Elementary School near the intersection of Prairie Grass Way and Knoll Street along the U.S. Highway 380 Corridor.

Parents in the Braswell High School zone will see attendance boundaries shift again.

The area along the eastern U.S. Highway 380 Corridor has been through several rezonings in recent years as developments continue to spring up and families continue to build in them. This time, the changes will mean a new elementary school for students living in a neighborhood west of Bell Elementary.

District officials are redrawing boundaries in preparation for the opening of Union Park Elementary this fall on the north side of the highway. All the students living in the Union Park subdivision will attend that school in August. The trick, administrators say, is finding a way to alleviate overcrowding at other nearby elementaries.

“It’s really a challenge in that section of the district because it’s just so dense,” Superintendent Jamie Wilson said.

Map

After holding public meetings on the proposed changes in October, Area Superintendent Jeff Russell posed two rezoning options to the school board last week that would affect a sliver of the district’s most southeastern neighborhood. The board is expected to vote on the changes at its Dec. 4 meeting.

Students subject to the change — essentially anyone living east of Rivers Creek Lane and Abby Creek Drive — will no longer attend Bell Elementary this fall. The district’s first proposal would move them to Paloma Creek Elementary. The second would send them to Union Park.

“We didn’t go west of Bell because we thought there would be a larger possibility that we would get a family that had already been rezoned in the past,” Russell said.

The impetus for the change came from the overcrowding already happening at Bell. The campus opened in 2016 and currently serves more than 800 students, or roughly 60 students over the functional capacity for Denton ISD elementaries.

School employees seemed partial to the Paloma Creek proposal after seeing future enrollment projections. If students living along Rivers Creek Lane attended Union Park, the school would hit its capacity by fall 2021. If they went to Paloma Creek instead, Union Park could stave off overcrowding for another year.

“From a stability standpoint, Proposition 1 [to Paloma Creek] is the stronger proposal,” Russell said. “If I had a first-grader and we went with Proposition 1, there would be a better chance of my child going all the way through their elementary years at the same campus.”

Rezoning is a familiar shuffle for families in the 380 Corridor. Five elementary schools have opened in the area since 2004 and the district added a second middle school, Rodriguez, in 2017 to relieve some of the overcrowding at Navo Middle School. All of the schools funnel into Braswell High School, which opened in 2016 as the district’s fourth major high school.

Officials are already drawing up plans for more schools, which will likely mean more rezoning. Once Union Park Elementary opens, the district will start using funds from its $750 million bond project to build another middle school and elementary school in the area.

“There’s going to be continuous movement,” Wilson said. “This is going to be the area that’s the hardest [to rezone]. The good part about it is you’re not having to worry about splitting them into high schools. They’re all going to end up in the same place.”

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @CjonesDRC.

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