LUBBOCK, Texas — Everyone at the brand new Alcove Trails Middle School was making final touches and preparations today, not just for the new school year, but for the very first day students will fill the halls of the district’s newest addition.
“It’s always exciting to start a new school year and the hope and promise that that brings public education, so we’re excited,” said Frenship Superintendent, Dr. Michelle McCord.
Part of Alcove Trails was paid for using funds from an almost $300 million bond approved by Frenship voters in 2020, and after two years of construction, teachers and staff are ready to welcome students to the district’s fourth middle school.
“We’re expecting between 400 and 450 kids, and so this building is designed to have 950 to 1000 students, and so we’ve got lots of room to grow but the good thing is that we didn’t have lots of room to grow at our existing middle schools,” said Dr. McCord.
As for the campus itself, Alcove Trails will have two gyms, a large cafeteria, a library still being filled with hundreds of books and security features–of course–to keep students safe.
“Whether it be a secure vestibule, ballistic film on the exterior windows, cameras, silent panic alert buttons, all of those things are in all of the existing campuses,” said Dr. McCord. “ And so Alcove Trails has the same thing.”
Dr. McCord added that the district grows about 3% each year, which is something principal Rebecca Whipkey said is almost unbelievable.
“When I began 20 years ago in Frenship, there was only one middle school and it was Frenship Junior High at the time, and so I’ve watched the district grow and it’s just crazy to think that after 20 years I’m the one opening up the fourth Middle school,” said Whipkey.
As for whether the surrounding area and roads are prepared for the new influx of people is one of those things that is expected to be dealt with a little later down the road.
“One thing is that the city of Lubbock passed a bond last fall, I believe, it was to improve roads and some of the areas around this school are included in that,” said Dr. McCord. “It is exciting to be in a fast-growth area, but sometimes it’s hard for the infrastructure to keep up, just like for us to keep up with building a school, the city to keep up with roads in the county and all that sort of thing.”
Overall, however, many are looking forward to the future of Frenship, and how Alcove Trails fits into that vision.
“I’m expecting our kids to be safe. I’m expecting them to learn a lot. I’m expecting them to grow,” said Whipkey. “Middle School is such a challenging time and that’s our charge to help navigate those waters for our middle schoolers. So just helping kids grow and become the best humans that they can be.”
Classes at Alcove Trails and all other FISD middle schools begin at 8:15a.m. tomorrow morning, but this isn’t the only new construction projects in the works for the district. Frenship’s ninth elementary school is still expected to open next fall, and the transition from the current Ninth Grade Center becoming the new Frenship Middle School–along with the second high school–are set to be completed by 2025. For more information, Dr. McCord recommends visiting the FISD website.