Residents of Tioga gathered Saturday to watch the groundbreaking for a new high school for the Tioga Independent School District and its 532 students.

“We hope to have it complete by the spring,” Tioga ISD Superintendent Charles Holloway said. “There will be about 150 students at the school, and we hope that it will look like the old two story schools from many years ago. We want it to look like the high school that used to be here in Tioga.”

Holloway said that the district estimates that the new school will cost about $25 million to build. It will be located on 92 acres of land located on the southeast corner of McKnight Road and Airport Road. Tioga voters approved a lease-purchase deal to help fund the new school back in July.

The district currently has only one campus, which houses pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Within the last few years, the district has been adding between 80 and 100 students each year, Holloway said earlier this year. Because the current campus is reaching its maximum capacity, a new high school campus has been a priority for the district to provide students quality instruction.

Tioga ISD Public Facility Corporation, a nonprofit separate from the school district, will be responsible for accepting annual payments from the district and a board member will make payments to the bondholders on behalf of the corporation. During the lease-purchase agreement, the corporation will hold the title to the land and facility. At the end of the payment period, the title to the land and facility will be transferred back to the district.

“The new school is needed because the current school is overcrowded, and we have a wait list at the school of about 50-70 students,” Holloway said. “Right now, we do not have a rendering of what the school will look like.”

The superintendent said the district doesn’t yet have a rendering of exactly what the school will look like, but preliminary drawings from VLK Architects of Fort Worth showed the campus to be approximately 62,000 square feet with a stadium and track.

The planning for the new school, Holloway said, began several years ago.

“I have a child that is a senior this year so she probably will not be at the new high school,” community member Tammy Cobb said. “But, I also have a sophomore that will be at the new high school so it was important for us to be here today. We are very excited about the new facility.”

Susan Holloway has also been following the planning for the new high school and didn’t let cold temperatures prevent her from watching the groundbreaking.

“I am excited to be here today and I am excited to be a part of this,” she said. “It has been a long time coming. This is awesome for the community and the city.”