FORNEY, Texas — Construction is underway at the site of Forney Independent School District's (ISD) new Tony Jackson Middle School and Tim Rhodes Intermediate School northwest of Ranch Road and Farm-to-Market (FM) 740.

Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry visited the site on Friday with representatives from Huckabee Architects and Gallagher Construction.

"As you guys can see, its moving fast," he said from the 260-acre site.

According to Gallagher Construction, excavation work at the site is about 80% complete and then work will begin to prepare the foundation and pour peers. Other trades will be on site, including electricians and plumbers, to begin the initial phases of construction.

Terry described the design of the campuses as unique, innovative, and efficient in that the Tony Jackson Middle School and Tim Rhodes Intermediate Schools will be separate campuses but will share core facilities including, among other things, co-labs, hub- and shared-spaces.

Initially, the district expected a $4 million savings in sharing core facilities between the two campuses. During Friday's Facebook Live video with Terry at the site, a Gallagher rep said the district should see a savings of $40 million over time due to lower construction bids, by use of shared spaces, and the ability to start and finish the projects ahead of schedule, avoiding additional inflation.

The campuses are the first phase in the district's four-year construction plan brought on by a $623 million facilities bond which was handily approved by voters in November 2019.

Ceremonial groundbreakings at the site are anticipated later this year at a date to be determined.

The Jerry and Helen Griffin Elementary School in Devonshire is also slated for 2020, according to the four-year construction plan. All three campuses are expected to open in 2021, according to the district's bond overview website.

Also in 2021, Forney ISD expects breaking ground on the Don R. Willett Elementary and the new O.B. Johnson Elementary campuses, which will be located in the Gateway development and Overland Grove development, respectively. Both are expected to open in 2022.

In 2023, the district plans to break ground on the Keith Bell College and Career Center across from the Tony Jackson Middle School and Tim Rhodes Intermediate School, expected to open in 2024.