Samsung plant, local growth plans take shape in Taylor

The construction site for the new Samsung plant can clearly be seen.

"Did you ever think there would be a day there would see more cranes in Taylor, Texas than in all of Austin combined," said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell.

Another impressive sight was pointed out by Judge Gravell. New roadways are being built around the plant site. Work on others is about to start.

"We are going to have a ribbon cutting here in a few weeks on the largest single road project we've ever done in Williamson County, and we are pretty excited," said Gravell.

Taylor has a population of a little more than 20,000. A few years ago, the total assessed value in the town was less than a billion dollars. 

To put that into perspective, Samsung’s investment in Taylor is estimated to be $17 billion. About 1,800 jobs are expected when the site opens by 2025. Spin off jobs could more than double that number. Taylor is trying to avoid becoming the latest victim of urban sprawl. 

City officials said they are looking to the past to manage the coming growth.

"We have learned the lessons, the cautionary tales from so many communities from throughout the country, we are going to be very mindful and intentional about how we grow we are going to encourage infill development, we think we can double the population of the city of Taylor as it is, just with infill development," said Mayor Brandt Rydell.

Growing out, according to Mayor Rydell, will be done in increments. The goal, even before the Samsung announcement, is to avoid large clusters of subdivisions.

"We are not saying no to development, we want to have the development that is respectful of Taylor's past and where we want to go with our comprehensive plan," said Rydell.

A big part of Taylor ISD’s growth plan is on the November ballot. Voters will consider an $82 million bond. Superintendent Devin Padavil says much of the money will renovate schools and buy land for new schools.

"Yeah, now is the time. If it is not now, it’s too late," said Superintendent Padavil.

Taylor ISD currently has an enrollment at 3,152 students. By 2027, it’s estimated enrollment will exceed 4,300 students. The growth plan, according to Padavil, is not just about adding classroom space.

"Our buildings and our facilities are not ready for the growth and not ready for the opportunity. When I talk about opportunity, we want to prepare all of our High School kids and our Middle School kids to be thinking and getting experiences with the learning opportunities that can lead to careers at all of these manufacturing companies in central Texas," said Padavil.

Samsung is also looking to build that workforce. Students in Taylor are already taking part in company internships.