The Temple school board on Monday evening approved the purchase of 47 acres in southeast Temple for new schools to accommodate future growth.

Temple Independent School District trustees unanimously approved the $702,911.25 purchase based on an enrollment projection study that estimated that more than 950 additional students will enter the district based on new subdivisions being built in south Temple.

The site is located off Old Highway 95 in Temple, district spokesman Christian Hernandez said.

“This is a proud day for Temple ISD and is all part of our transformational process,” said TISD Superintendent Bobby Ott said in a news release. “This decision sends a clear message that we will be positioned to handle our projected growth and be ready to welcome our future families to new schools and master-planned, high-quality residential developments.”

A study by Templeton Demographics indicates that the largest area of projected growth is in the southeast part of the district. More than 1,600 residential units are planned for development within the next three to five years. The addition of a projected 950 students means the district will quickly surpass the current capacity of schools in southeast Temple, according to the study.

A new elementary school should be built within three to five years. An additional elementary and middle school will be needed beyond five years, according to the study’s recommendations

Temple ISD has not added a school to the district since 1998 when Kennedy-Powell, Raye-Allen and Hector P. Garcia were opened.

District administration has worked closely with the city of Temple and a number of property developers to identify ideal locations for future infrastructure and new schools, the release said. The district decided to move forward with the purchase of this parcel of land — the first time Temple ISD has purchased land to build a school in nearly 20 years.

Officials said it was important to secure the land before development raises the cost per acre. The purchase of land also allows ample time to continue collaborating with the city of Temple on roads, sewer and other infrastructure needs to open a new elementary school in time to accommodate growth.