Charter school campus zoning approved by FM P&Z

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Flower Mound Town Hall. Photo by Bill Castleman

It’s not an easy-sell to get a change in zoning for a non-residential lot in Flower Mound’s protected Cross Timbers Conservation Development District (CTCDD) area of the town’s Master Plan.

Monday night, however, the town’s Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted unanimously to change 18.85-acres, on the southeast corner of FM 1171 and Flower Mound Road, from Agricultural District zoning to create a new campus for the Responsive Education Solution’s Founders Classical Academy of Flower Mound charter school; which is soon-to-outgrow its current location in the former health club 500 building in Parker Square.

“Founders Classical Academy is a ‘classical’ school,” said Warner Watkins, president of its PTA. “Classical schools take an approach of education that’s characterized by traditional liberal arts and sciences curriculum and ‘an orientation towards truth, beauty and goodness that aims to cultivate wise and virtuous students.’”

The new campus will be completed in two phases. The first phase includes a 42,722-square-feet elementary/middle school building with 32-classrooms for 590 students, plus a 15,001-square-feet gymnasium building with 200 seats. It will also include 107 parking spaces.

Watkins explained that the public, tuition-free Founders charter school is increasing its curriculum to become a Kindergarten through seventh-grade facility in 2017-18 and will continue to expand eventually to instruct students through 12th grade.

The future second phase will be the construction of the high school building for approximately 260 students.

“The new site will become the main campus, allowing the space in Parker Square to be re-purposed,” said Terry Wright with Wright Groups Architects of Carrollton.

Commissioner Laura Dillon expressed concern about possible backup at the median break on FM 1171 for the Cross Timbers Road access. There is currently a median break on FM 1171 that will be utilized for the Cross Timbers Road entrance, with another entrance on Flower Mound Road.

Project representatives pointed out that, because the site is not a “neighborhood” school– but, pulls students from across the North Texas region– and will have staggered starting-times; westbound school traffic should not create a traffic problem. The traffic light at the intersection to the west will help create an opening for drivers turning left into the site.

“With this site being so linear, it does grant a lot of stacking,” said Wright.

The P&Z Commissioner’s approval for the zoning change is complete. However, their unanimous approval to recommend Town Council approval of the requests for both a Master Plan Amendment (MPA)– to expand the current town boundary of the Long Prairie Wastewater Service District to include the new campus site– plus a Record Plat and Site Plan Application will be future agenda items for council consideration.

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