Construction of a new middle school in Red Oak ISD is scheduled to begin in the coming months as district officials prepare for projected student body growth.

According to a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filing, Red Oak ISD’s second middle school will be built on Westmoreland Drive in Ovilla. The anticipated delivery date of the 180,740-square-foot campus is August 15.

In May, voters approved a $97.5 million bond proposition for the construction of the campus that will include “a wing-concept layout with a capacity for up to 1,200 students” from grades 6 to 8. Student enrollment at Red Oak Middle School is about 1,550, making it one of two district campuses operating over capacity.

Recently, declining student enrollment figures have been seen in several public school systems — including Dallas ISD, the second largest in Texas. As previously covered by The Dallas Express, these falling numbers are likely due to an array of factors, such as demographic shifts, rising housing costs, and competition from education alternatives. Fort Worth ISD has even launched a “rightsizing” initiative to redistribute its students and resources due to a number of its campuses operating below 70% capacity.

Yet Red Oak ISD appears to be experiencing the opposite. It expects to have more students in the next few years, topping out at a total of 7,100 by 2026 and exceeding capacity at six of its seven campuses. According to the district, nearly 300 students have joined the district since last school year, bringing its total to about 6,300 students.

The new campus will “relieve current capacity at the existing middle school and prepare for projected growth,” according to the district’s website. “The current middle school population … would be divided after the new school opened so each campus would have 800 students, plus room to accommodate new enrollment.”

Half the campus will house academics, while the other half will allow for extracurricular activities and electives, “allowing for a quiet and less quiet concept.” Three academic wings will include interior courtyards for outdoor learning. Tennis courts and a multi-sport field with a track will also be built.

Student achievement scores at Red Oak ISD have been slightly below the state average, with only 45% of its students scoring at grade level on the 2021-2022 STAAR exam and 91.7% of its graduating seniors completing high school within four years, according to the latest Texas Education Agency accountability report. The state averages were 48% and 90%, respectively.

However, by comparison, only 41% of students at Dallas ISD scored at grade level or higher on the STAAR exam that same year, while 81.1% of its Class of 2022 received a diploma within four years.