Alvord ISD hosts facility tours

By David Talley | Published Saturday, April 15, 2017
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Facility Tour

FACILITY TOUR – Alvord Elementary School Principal Bridget Williams shows community members around the campus Tuesday. A proposed bond package would fund six additional classrooms and a gymnasium at the school. Messenger photo by David Talley

Alvord ISD’s facilities committee earlier this month led community tours of the buildings that would benefit from the proposed $13.6 million bond.

School board members voted in February to place the issue on the May ballot. The proposed package would cover additions to the elementary and middle school campuses, demolishing the district’s old middle school, additions to the high school vocational ag building and field house and other athletic improvements, including turf fields, football stadium restrooms and a new press box. An administration building is also included in the package.

At a tour Tuesday, facilities committee co-chair Clint Mercer said the middle school gym presents several issues, including security logistics and practice time in its current state. The room splits duties as a gym, cafeteria and auditorium. The bond package would construct a second gym and restrooms to be used for practices and competition.

Mercer said vocational ag facilities at the high school are currently limited by space as well. The package would cover an extra classroom and added shop space.

In athletics, AD Pete Hart said the program struggles to hold events due to outdated restrooms at its stadium.

“A residential-grade toilet isn’t designed for 500 people to use it a day,” Hart said. “That means we keep a maintenance worker on scene for events because we know the facilities will fail.”

The school will host four track meets this spring, he added.

Turf fields, concrete sidewalks, a visitor ticket booth and a press box are also in the package. Hart said all would improve the facility’s accessibility to other programs like band and baseball/softball.

Added space for a classroom at the fieldhouse would enhance the learning experience, he said. Currently the football program watches game film in its locker room.

“We’re trying to integrate character and studying lessons, and its hard when the classroom is not designed for that,” he said.

While the high school and middle school campuses currently have capacity for growth, Superintendent Dr. Randy Brown said Alvord Elementary School does not. According to a district bond flier, the largest percentage of work would be done at that campus, including the addition of a six-classroom wing, a new gymnasium, music room and bus driveway.

Principal Bridget Williams said Tuesday the current gymnasium doesn’t meet students’ needs. A Facebook video of one of the school’s “Rise and Shine” ceremonies shows the tight space.

“What also concerns most of our parents of kids with asthma is you can really tell where things have gotten wet and dry and wet again,” she said.

Throughout the school, several rooms have been repurposed for the various needs of the school’s 327 students.

The package would fund demolishing the old gym and clearing several other metal buildings to improve parking for parents and buses.

A tax rate calculator is available on the district website. The average Alvord ISD homestead can expect a $23.24 tax increase if the bond passes.

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