TEMPLE, Texas — The Temple Independent School District took another big step toward opening the district’s newest school with a groundbreaking ceremony for Sampson-Howard Elementary Tuesday morning (March 7). School board members, district administrators, community leaders and even some potential future students of the school participated in Tuesday’s event.
The $38.2 million project was approved by voters as part of the district’s Bond 2022 proposal last May and will become the first completely new school opened by the district in more than 25 years. The last time TISD opened an additional campus was in 1998, when Hector P. Garcia Elementary, Kennedy-Powell Elementary and Raye-Allen Elementary all opened their doors. The school is being built on property the district purchased in 2019 in the fast-growing southeast quadrant of the city.
“This is truly a historic event for Temple ISD and we are honored to celebrate this event with those in attendance today,” said Dan Posey, president of the TISD board of trustees. “Events like this do not happen every day and they certainly do not happen in isolation. We are here today because of a community effort that has been years in the making. TISD is blessed to be a part of a community that prioritizes our children and invests in their futures.”
Sampson-Howard Elementary will be a Fine Arts Academy and is named for Cornelius Carl Sampson and Durward and Jean Howard. Sampson was a Temple native and graduate who later served as athletic coach, debate coach and math teacher and before being appointed principal of Dunbar High School in 1924. Jean and Durward Howard both taught at Temple High School. Durward Howard joined THS in 1948 and served as the band director for many years before being named Director of Fine Arts and Humanities for TISD. Jean Howard taught social studies at THS and worked with her husband to further art and educational opportunities for students and the community.
“As a board, it was paramount to us that the name of the new school reflect the values of our community, as well as the programmatic focus of the new campus,” said Linell Davis, TISD trustee – District 2. “These two nominations in tandem enveloped everything that we could have ever wanted and hoped for this new fine arts academy on the east side of Temple to represent.”
District 7 trustee Shannon Myers also spoke about the timeline and the background for the project during the ceremony. She referenced not only the research the board has done leading up to and following the passage of the bond, but also pointed out that the planning process for the new elementary school goes back to 2018.
“The board requested a demographic study at that time, and it validated not only was there growth in the southeast quadrant, but that growth would be unlike anything the district had seen since the late 90’s,” Myers said. “During the bond process, the board and Senior Leadership Team toured several elementary schools across the state, trying to find the best design, innovations and concept model to match our community. The new fine arts concept was exactly the kind of unique and innovative concept that we were looking to provide to our families here in Temple, which has always supported and championed the arts.”
Sampson-Howard Elementary was designed by Stantec and Cloud Construction is serving as construction manager at risk for the project. Sampson-Howard Elementary is slated to open in the fall of 2024.