By Kim Steele
Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS — Student growth has stabilized in the city after increasing 65 percent in the last decade, but new subdivisions will drive enrollment in the coming years, Killeen Independent School District officials told the City Council Tuesday.

More than 1,929 lots in at least five subdivisions will be for sale in varying time frames, according to information provided by the city during a joint meeting of the two governing bodies.

Killeen ISD demographer Jeff Heckathorn presented statistics on growth at the city’s three elementary schools, two middle schools and single high school. He projected that enrollment at every school but the high school will decrease over the next two years.

None of the Harker Heights schools will reach capacity during that time, he said, adding that most of the district’s growth over the next two years will take place in Killeen between East Trimmier and Clear Creek roads, necessitating at least one new elementary school there.

“If you look at the five-year and 10-year growth in Harker Heights, that’s where the city saw its most

significant increase,” he said. “In the last three or four years, that growth has leveled off, mainly because all the existing subdivisions are into fill-in mode. They’re not stagnant, but there’s not the big growth we’ve seen.”

Harker Heights Mayor Mike Aycock said the city’s growth is an important issue to the council and is glad Killeen school officials recognize that.

“Our main concern is the future growth of Harker Heights and how it will affect us and the school district,” he said. “A lot of good information comes out of these meetings.”

Max Cleaver, executive director of Killeen ISD Facility Services, gave an update on the new technology center, located at Beeline Lane and Bluebird Drive. Cleaver said the center will be fully operational by March and will be occupied by about 60 KISD employees. Cleaver said the center will include a training facility on computer software and applications for faculty, as well as a computer warehouse and a building for computer repair.

Also, said Cleaver, the district will add five new science labs to the current 13 science labs at Harker Heights High School. The school district received a $5.5 million grant from the Texas Education Agency in June for 16 science labs. Cleaver said construction will begin in June and take about a year to complete.

Killeen Deputy Superintendent Bobby Ott described progress on the new career center, which is about 75 percent complete and located at Trimmier and Stagecoach roads in Killeen. Ott said between 250 and 450 students from each of the district’s four high schools have expressed interest in attending when the facility opens this fall.