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Committee outlines potential bond package

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Voters in the Alvord school district might be asked to approve a bond next May that is about half the scope and cost of one defeated by voters earlier this year.

The Alvord ISD Community Facilities Committee presented a draft proposal for a bond package at a community meeting Monday night inside the facility that has been identified as the highest priority: the Alvord Elementary gym.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone in the community who hasn’t said this is one of the biggest needs,” said committee chairman Kyle Dickerson. “It’s time to do something about it. This gym is 67 years old. It’s been great, but the upkeep on it now, it’s getting out of control.”

Monday’s meeting was held to get community input on the proposed plan before the committee makes its recommendation to the school board next month.

The committee’s preliminary recommendation is to construct a new 15,000-square-foot gym, similar in size to the 14,400-square-foot current gym. The new gym would include a music classroom, concession area, student restrooms with changing areas and public restrooms, which would allow the gym to possibly host tournaments.

While a new elementary gym was also featured in the $13.8 million bond package that voters defeated by a nearly four-to-one margin last May, the new proposal also includes the addition of pull-out bleachers that will increase the seating capacity from 250 to 450. That would allow every student in the elementary to have a seat in the gym.

The committee estimates the cost of the new gym would be between $4.2 and $4.5 million.

The other recommendation from the committee is for a new 6,700-square-foot classroom wing at the elementary school. The new classrooms would be used for science and as administration offices until those spaces are needed for student instruction.

Additional funding would be included in the proposal for demolition of the old gym, connections to different buildings on the elementary campus, new HVAC, asbestos abatement and exterior door security upgrades.

The total cost of the proposed bond would be $6.9 million.

Superintendent Randy Brown discussed what that kind of bond proposal would mean to the district’s tax rate. He estimated it would require a 15- or 19-cent tax rate increase, depending on how the debt is structured. For the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000, a 15-cent increase would mean paying $150 more per year in taxes, while a 19-cent increase would translate to a $190 increase.

Brown thanked the committee for its work in determining the district’s greatest needs and putting together a proposal the community could support.

“The last time we tried this we weren’t successful, so there has been a very concentrated effort to have a modest, conservative proposal that fits what our community wants and needs and will support,” he said.

The committee is expected to meet at least once more before making a proposal to the school board in January. If the school board decides to call a bond election at its February meeting, the community could have the opportunity to vote on the bond election as early as May.

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