The New High School In Prosper Texas Is Beyond Awesome!

Real Estate Agent with Ebby Halliday Realtors


Big new high school in Prosper builds small-town pride


Coleman Street heads north out of tiny Prosper past porches and hayfields until it passes a column-studded brick edifice that seems to span the horizon.

Welcome to the modern American high school, Texas style. Prosper High School is a $113.5 million, 590,000-square-foot behemoth, complete with a medical tech lab, a restaurant-worthy kitchen, a greenhouse, a broadcast studio and, of course, an indoor football practice facility. All this in a still-sleepy town of just 7,000 people.

The school opened last week at half its capacity, but district officials say it will soon fill up as families push north from crowded suburbs like Frisco and McKinney.

So like some of the area's new schools, it's a symbol of growth's march, but also a community's search for identity and even Texas pride.

"This is more than bricks and mortar," said Drew Watkins, Prosper ISD's superintendent. "This is a community facility. This is what the community wanted. And when they say best, they mean best, not just pretty good."

This school doesn't have a gym. It has three. One is an arena. The auditorium seats nearly 1,000 people and will be the town's only theater.

Every classroom has four computers and an interactive white board that teachers use to project and manipulate images from their computers. Flat-screen televisions flash announcements throughout the day.

And while some districts create separate centers for career-focused programs, Prosper has fit them all in one building. And it has added a garage for auto mechanics in its wing dedicated to career and technical education.

The building already adorned with "State Champions," thanks to the football team, houses the indoor multipurpose field and a weight room that rivals private gyms.

The lecture hall and airy hallways give the school a collegiate feel, which Watkins said is intentional.

"Most of our parents are college educated and want their kids to have that experience," he said. "We want them to have a competitive edge, to think beyond Collin County - nationally and internationally."

There is a competitive edge as well for big, new schools when it comes to attracting good teachers.

Watkins said, "Teachers want to teach in a place like this."


'Community pride'


North Texas has built a slew of new high schools in recent years, though few match Prosper's scope.

Northwest ISD just opened a 504,000-square-foot high school in Trophy Club that cost $96 million. McKinney Boyd High School finished the final phase of its 530,680-square-foot building last year. It cost $80 million, not including technology and furniture. Sunnyvale High School opened this year at $26 million for 110,000 square feet, making it even more expensive than Prosper based on cost per square foot.

Taxpayers have agreed to pay those bills with little fuss, especially in Prosper's case. The district passed a $710 million school construction bond package two years ago by an 80 percent majority.

"There's a certain level of pride, a level of priority given to educating students," said Tony Elenburg, the pastor of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship in Prosper. "I've lived in a lot of different places and I'd say this is unique to Texas. It comes back to community pride."

Americans have long considered schools a community focus, said Gene Preuss, an assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown who published a book on the history of Texas education reform this year.

He pointed out that Texas stayed rural after World War II, "so the school remained a community center longer in Texans' collective memory."

The state's education funding speaks to that mentality. Local taxes pay for 44 percent of school finances nationally, but they pay for more than half of school funds in Texas.

This also means wealthier areas can afford better schools, Preuss said. So it's not surprising to see North Texas finance bigger and better schools, he said.

"School districts in areas that are experiencing greater growth can more easily afford to build facilities with bigger footprints because the land is cheaper and there is more available in developing areas," he said.


Sharkey Peek Group Tiffany and Tonya are your Prosper Realtors.



Comments (2)

Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Sounds like an amazing school and one the town should be very proud of.

Sep 22, 2009 07:45 PM
Sasha Miletic - Windsor Real Estate
RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd. - Windsor, ON

Hi Tiffany & Tanya, Good post. Thanks for sharing.

Best - Sash

Sep 22, 2009 08:25 PM