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College Station school board approved $136M bond package with growth in mind

College Station school board approved $136M bond package with growth in mind

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About 13,000 College Station students are preparing to return to school Monday, but administrators are already looking well beyond the first day of school.

The College Station school board this week agreed to place a $136 million bond package on the November ballot, a move officials said is necessary to keep up with the district's unprecedented growth.

The bond package would fund three new schools, renovations to existing campuses and purchases for technology, maintenance, buses and land.

Superintendent Clark Ealy told board members at their meeting Tuesday night that the district has always grown.

"In the 30 years between 1978 and 2008 -- in each of those three 10-year periods -- we added around 2,000 students per year," he said. "Since 2008, we've really started to accelerate our pace of growth. Instead of adding 2,000 students, we've added 3,300, [and] instead of it being over a 10-year period, that was over a six-year period. In fact, we've added 1,500 students in the last two years alone."

The projects selected for the bond package were recommended to the school board by a 34-member committee formed in February. The committee -- made up of 25 parents and community members and nine non-voting school district representatives -- examined the district's facilities, potential needs and the history and projections of student enrollment. The College Station school board was presented with the committee's recommendations in May.

A story in Wednesday's paper incorrectly reported what was included in the bond package. A performing arts center and a sports and recreation center are not part of the measure approved by the College Station school board. Those two facilities were explored as potential projects, but the committee chose not to include them among its recommendations.

Should College Station voters approve the bond package in November, here is a breakdown of where the money will go, and why each of the items was included.

New facilities

Intermediate school number three:

• Planned to open in the 2017-2018 school year.

• Cost is estimated at $38.38 million.

The district will have roughly 1,920 students across two intermediate school campuses for the upcoming school year. The number is notable, as Oakwood Intermediate and Cypress Grove Intermediate have a combined "functional capacity" of 1,960 students.

Despite the addition of four portable classrooms to Oakwood, enrollment projections for the 2017-2018 school year place the intermediate level at 110 students over the current capacity.

Middle school number three:

• Planned to open in the 2018-2019 school year.

• Cost is estimated at $51.73 million.

Like the district's intermediate schools, A&M Consolidated Middle School and College Station Middle School are facing more students in the near future than their current capacity will allow. District estimates expect student enrollment to meet the current capacity of 2,000 students in the 2017-2018 school year, and surpass the capacity by nearly 70 students for the 2018-2019 school year.

Like Oakwood Intermediate, A&M Consolidated Middle School will be adding four portable classrooms for the upcoming school year.

Elementary school number 10:

• Planned to open in the 2018-2019 school year.

• Cost is estimated at $24.22 million.

Although the school district's ninth elementary school -- Spring Creek Elementary in south College Station -- will be opening for the first time Monday, current growth projections show the district is in need of a new elementary school every three years.

Updates and renovations to existing campuses

• Cost is estimated at $3.63 million.

Campus renovations under the bond package are focused on the school district's existing intermediate and middle schools, and keeping them up-to-date with newer facilities.

The proposed renovations include: the addition of more restrooms to Cypress Grove Intermediate School, the update and expansion of the boys and girls locker rooms at A&M Consolidated Middle School and an improved entrance to Oakwood Intermediate School.

The bond also includes funding for the inclusion of flexible instructional spaces for the four current intermediate and middle schools. The spaces -- which have been designed into many of the district's elementary and high schools -- would provide the schools with "collaborative learning areas." Each newly renovated space would require the area currently occupied by two classrooms in each of the schools.

Additional district needs

Deferred maintenance:

• Cost is estimated at $5.2 million.

The funds set aside for deferred maintenance under the bond package would be used to address ongoing replacements and repairs to items like roofs, lighting, HVAC systems and drainage.

Land acquisition:

• Cost is estimated at $5.9 million.

Ealy said the money would be used to purchase land on which future facilities can be built.

Buses:

• Cost is estimated at $1.6 million.

In addition to the need for more buses to cover the routes of new school campuses, the bond package also includes the funds necessary to replace buses that are 13 years old or older.

Technology:

• Cost is estimated at $5.6 million.

These allotted funds under the bond are planned to give the school district the ability to keep up with the increasing use of technology. In addition to allowing for the replacement of older computers and devices, the money would also be used to upgrade infrastructure such as cabling, servers, phones, storage area networks and wireless access points.

For more information on the upcoming bond election, visit bond.csisd.org.

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