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08 May . 2016

Construction of Rancho Sienna Elementary School to start following success of LHISD bond election

Construction of the new Rancho Sienna Elementary School is scheduled to begin in late June or early July, following the successful passage of the Liberty Hill Independent School District’s $35 million bond package on Saturday.

With a 12.5-month construction timetable foreseen for the new school, LHSID Superintendent Dr. Rob Hart feels optimistic and confident about it opening in August, 2017, in time for the 2017-18 academic year.

Dr. Hart predicted an opening enrollment of about 600 students for the school, which has a capacity for 800 students. He said attendance boundaries will be drawn closer to the opening date, although he confirmed that all students living in Rancho Sienna will attend the new school.

He believes Rancho Sienna residents will be impressed by the design of the new $29 million school, located on Via De Sienna Boulevard.

“We worked closely with Newland and our architects to come up with a Hill Country design that will really blend in with the natural environment and terrain at Rancho Sienna,” he said. “The use of stone, metal, deep eave overhangs and other elements borrows from traditional Hill Country architecture and new landmarks such as The Sienna House.”

The campus will offer the latest in security technology, along with a robust Wi-Fi system that will allow students to get online from anywhere in the school.

“Education is moving away from having centralized computer labs, and toward strong Wi-Fi connections that allow every student to learn from their own personal computer. Rancho Sienna Elementary School will embrace this new trend,” Dr. Hart said.

Other highlights include an outdoor learning courtyard between the school’s two main wings, and a study loft in the library.

Rancho Sienna Elementary will fit in with the community’s commitment to sustainable development. It will be the first LHISD campus to use energy efficient insulated concrete form construction, and the third to utilize natural geothermal energy for heating and cooling.

Dr. Hart explained that wells drilled 350 feet deep in select spots near the school’s playground will access geothermal energy from the earth, using it to heat and cool air before it reaches the building.

“This system is incredibly energy efficient, reducing the carbon footprint of the campus and providing a very comfortable and productive learning environment,” he said.

The bond issue also provides funding for renovations to Liberty Hill Elementary, Liberty Hill Intermediate and the district’s agricultural facilities.