Town Council pressures charter school to improve plans

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Prosper staff wanted to be clear that the Founders Classical Academyis still being built, without addressing the berms and landscaping.

Project tracking tool introduced

When the Prosper Town Council met Feb. 9,  most members were present in person, with one joining via Zoom.  The meeting began with a discussion about future events, including a public input meeting for Pecan Grove Park, Fishing Derby, a town-wide reading event, and the Mayor’s Fitness Challenge. 

The council presented the family of Ane Casady with a Proclamation in her honor.  Casady served in the Prosper ISD school board, as well as the town council.

“Ane spent her life serving her community, including a founding member of Collin College,” Mayor Ray Smith said.  Ane was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend who will be greatly missed by the Prosper community.  I hereby honor her service to the community and to honor her memory as a beloved Prosper resident.”  

The town of Prosper staff have moved to a new tracking system for work projects.  A presentation was given to show the council how it works and the benefits for the community.  This is a project tracking tool that allows staff to customize each step of the project.  This tool will allow staff to better track the projects and ensure that projects are continuing along the project timeline.  The tool costs the town about $2000 a year.  According to the presentation, this will allow the staff to fine tune the steps of the timeline to ensure that projects are completed with a reasonable deadline.  Finally, this tool allows staff to give residents more accurate updates about projects.  The tool includes a mobile application that council can use to better answer questions.  Residents can access this information on the Town of Prosper website.  

The Cook Children's property development managers presented a modification to the plans presented to the council.  As the architects accounted for the equipment needs in the building, the plans required a slight adjustment.  The council encouraged the architect and project manager to include another building sign, which would distract from the utility equipment on top of the building.  All the council members expressed that they are generally pleased with this building plan.  Jason Dixon said, “I am good with the overall project.  I am happy that Cooks is already an integral part of our community and are expanding in this manner.” 

Prosper staff wanted to be clear that the Founders Classical Academyis still being built, without addressing the berms and landscaping.

Tensions rose in the chamber when the charter school Founders Classical Academy asked to table the slated discussion for their plans for this meeting.  At a meeting in January, the school had requested permission to build lights for their stadium, and the council had asked for increased berms and landscaping.  “Staff and Founders Academy are working on alternatives but I do not know that the school is able to do what the council is requesting,” Lynn Tompkins, Jr., Vice President of Construction said.  “There are costs involved.  One of the biggest factors is that the foundation has already been installed.  We serve the population and have to open the school on time.”  

Prosper staff wanted to be clear that the school is still being built, without addressing the berms and landscaping. Councilperson Dixon said, “I understand that the applicant can not change the facade or the materials because of cost.  That makes sense to me.  But the berms and the landscaping do not seem like they would be cost-prohibitive.  I understand that we will continue to talk about this on February 23rd and that they will have a more firm plan at that time.”

“We are willing to allow you to have access to your building and move in furniture while you finish the berm and landscaping,” Councilperson Dixon said.  “We understand that you are on a set schedule, but we still have standards here in Prosper.  You’re asking for lighting, we are asking for berms and landscaping.  Both of these are above the original plan, which is already approved.  I understand we will talk about this more at the next meeting, and I look forward to working with you.  We are trying to have that continuity through the town.”