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KISD board to consider proposed $426 million school bond issue

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The face of the Killeen Independent School District will change in the years to come, thanks to a proposed $426 million bond issue that will be presented to the KISD board of trustees at Tuesday’s meeting.

The recommendation includes selections from a list of projects created by KISD officials, which were presented with cost estimates during a series of meetings in November.

The bond steering committee was composed of more than 50 residents of the community who agreed to serve after KISD officials invited over 100 to be part of the committee.

If the board approves the bond issue recommendation, voters would be able to cast their ballots for or against the measure during the May 5 municipal election.

The KISD bond steering committee agreed to include the following list of projects in the bond issue:

• Renovations to bring existing campuses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and address security/safety issues.

• A new high school to open for 2022-2023 school year (No. 65 on the map).

• Consolidation of East Ward and West Ward elementary schools with construction of a new East Ward school.

• Consolidation of Pershing Park and Sugar Loaf elementary schools, with partial rezoning of Bellaire Elementary School, and construction of a new Pershing Park school.

• A new elementary school to open for 2022-2023 school year, location to be determined.

• Renovate and expand Clifton Park Elementary School, with partial rezoning of Bellaire Elementary School.

• Renovations to Killeen High School.

OVERCROWDING CITED

KISD Superintendent John Craft told the bond steering committee at the Nov. 2 meeting that the district primarily needs new schools because of overcrowding, and an expected annual projected student population growth of 1 percent over the next 10 years.

A graph was presented at that meeting showing current overcrowding at the four KISD high schools.

Craft detailed how that overcrowding is somewhat relieved by the students attending the Early College High School and taking classes at the Career Center. Currently, over 1,700 students attend classes half-days at the Career Center, with over 200 students attending classes for the full day. .

As the student population continues to grow, Craft added, additional schools will be needed to prevent the addition of more portable classrooms.

Over 200 portable classrooms are currently in use throughout the district, according to Craft. Of that number, 59 portable classrooms are located at the four KISD high schools.

Construction of new schools could eliminate nearly two-thirds of the district’s portable classrooms, Craft said.

Another factor under consideration for the district to move quickly toward a bond issue, Craft said, was escalating construction costs.

Normal cost escalation could be seriously impacted by the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma earlier this year, Craft said, and high demand not just for materials, but also for skilled laborers to work on building projects.

Renovation projects included in the bond recommendation arose because a number of KISD school buildings are over 50 years old and need to be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Craft said.

The KISD bond steering committee gave high priority to these renovations, including increasing secure access to existing school buildings to ensure student safety.

CURRENT FACILITIES

The map shows current schools in the district, along with special campuses, closed schools and the locations — where known — of new schools, according to KISD officials.

The district doesn’t have records of construction costs for all of these schools, officials said.

KISD currently has 32 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, four high schools and other campuses such as the Early College High School and the Career Center in the district.

The schools are numbered 1 to 48 on the map.

Special campuses, such as Gateway Middle and High School, the Career Center, and the KISD administration building are numbered 49-58 on the map.

The district still owns three schools that are now closed. These are numbered 59-61 on the map.

Duncan Elementary is on Fort Hood. According to Craft, that facility was closed at the end of the 2016-2017 school year “due to declining enrollment which, in turn, causes inefficiencies in many areas,” according to Terry Abbott, KISD chief communications officer, citing minutes of a KISD board of trustees meeting.

The old Fowler Elementary School was closed at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

The Feb. 11, 2014, KISD board minutes say Fowler was “the district’s most expensive campus on a general revenue, per student, basis. By closing that campus and redistributing the students to Clifton Park, East Ward and West Ward, the receiving campuses would become more efficient.”

The Fowler building was later leased for $1 per year to Texas A&M University-Central Texas which, in turn, leased the building to Oak Creek Academy.

The Fairway Middle School building most recently provided housing for evacuees of Hurricane Harvey.

The school closed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year, due to declining enrollment, as noted in the KISD board minutes from Jan. 13, 2009.

The KISD board voted to place the Fairway property up for sale at its Sept. 12, 2017, meeting, but bids submitted in early November were later rejected by the board.

Craft has referenced using Fairway as a “swing school” during the consolidation process for East Ward and West Ward elementary schools.

While Duncan and Fairway sit empty, the KISD board voted to move forward on a new elementary school to be built on Morganite Lane. The school will open for the 2019-2020 school year.

Construction on a new middle school will begin sometime in 2018 at a site on Warriors Path. That school is slated to open for the 2020-2021 school year.

These construction projects will be paid from currently available district funds. These new schools are numbered 63 and 64 on the map.

In the weeks to come, KISD officials — with assistance from various professional firms — will develop a strategy to present information to the public on the bond issue and its projects.

KISD officials have not responded to questions regarding the cost of the marketing effort or whether taxpayer dollars will be used to cover those costs.

If the bond issue is approved by voters, property taxes on a home assessed at $143,000 would rise about $244 per year, according to figures presented by Baselice & Associates at the Nov. 30 bond steering committee meeting. This amount does not take into consideration a homestead exemption or other exemptions.

Information from the bond steering committee presentations, video recordings of those meetings and other documents are available at www.killeenisdbsc.org.

The public may also submit questions and comments related to the bond process on the website.

KISD map

Source: Killeen Independent School District

Key to KISD map

# School Grade Built Age Cost Unknown field 6
1 Alice W. Douse Elementary 2017 0 $30.26
2 Bellaire Elementary 1966 51 unavailable
3 Brookhaven Elementary 1993 24 unavailable
4 Cedar Valley Elementary 1993 24 unavailable
5 Clarke Elementary 1976 41 unavailable
6 Clear Creek Elementary 1990 27 unavailable
7 Clifton Park Elementary 1964 53 unavailable
8 Dr. Joseph A. Fowler Elementary 2014 3 $16.13 *
9 East Ward Elementary 1952 65 unavailable
10 Harker Heights Elementary 1964 53 unavailable
11 Hay Branch Elementary 1985 32 unavailable
12 Haynes Elementary 2011 6 $13.80 *
13 Iduma Elementary 2003 14 unavailable
14 Ira Cross Jr. Elementary 2002 15 unavailable
15 Maxdale Elementary 2001 16 unavailable
16 Meadows Elementary 2007 10 unavailable
17 Montague Village Elementary 1998 19 unavailable
18 Mountain View Elementary 1988 29 unavailable
19 Nolanville Elementary 1985 32 unavailable
20 Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary 2004 13 unavailable
21 Peebles Elementary 1960 57 unavailable
22 Pershing Park Elementary 1962 55 unavailable
23 Reeces Creek Elementary 1989 28 unavailable
24 Richard E. Cavazos Elementary 2009 8 $14.14 *
25 Saegert Elementary 2006 11 $11.96 *
26 Skipcha Elementary 2006 11 $12.34 *
27 Sugar Loaf Elementary 1965 52 unavailable
28 Timber Ridge Elementary 2005 12 unavailable
29 Trimmier Elementary 1998 19 unavailable
30 Venable Village Elementary 1995 22 unavailable
31 West Ward Elementary 1953 64 unavailable
32 Willow Springs Elementary 1985 32 unavailable
33 Audie Murphy Middle 2004 13 $14.22 *
34 Charles E. Patterson Middle 2009 8 $19.21 *
35 Eastern Hills Middle 1987 30 unavailable
36 Liberty Hill Middle 1998 19 unavailable
37 Live Oak Ridge Middle 2002 15 unavailable
38 Manor Middle 1971 46 unavailable
39 Nolan Middle 1961 56 unavailable
40 Palo Alto Middle 1995 22 unavailable
41 Rancier Middle 1990 27 unavailable
42 Roy J. Smith Middle 2017 0 $46.70
43 Union Grove Middle 2004 13 $13.20 *
44 C.E. Ellison High 1978 39 unavailable
45 Harker Heights High 1995 22 unavailable
46 Killeen High 1964 53 unavailable
47a Early College-Fort Hood High 1976 41 unavailable
47b Early College-CTC High
48 Robert W. Shoemaker High 1996 21 unavailable
* does not include fixtures, furniture and equipment
Special Campuses
49 Bell Cty Juvenile Detention/JJAEP
50 Gateway High 1962 55 unavailable
51 Gateway Middle 1962 55 unavailable
52 Career Center 2012 5 unavailable
53 Pathways Academic Campus 2011 6 unavailable
54 Administration Bldg 1977 40 unavailable
55 Jackson Professional Learning Center (formerly Marlboro Elementary) 1954 63 unavailable
56 Killeen Learning Support Services (formerly Rancier Middle) 1943 74 unavailable
57 Student Services
58 Technology Services Ctr
Schools Closed but still owned by KISD
59 Duncan Elementary 1981 36 unavailable
60 Fowler Elementary now leased to Texas A&M-Central Texas 1956 61 unavailable
61 Fairway Middle School 1955 62 unavailable
62 Career and Technical Education now maintenance facility - Atkinson facility 1972 45 unavailable
New School Sites
63 Elementary School #35 $37.13
64 Middle School #14 $54.03
65 High School $171.00
Data compiled from information obtained from KISD.
Cost information on older schools no longer available, according to KISD officials.

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

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(4) comments

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

They want your money to continue their journey....
All hail SCHLECHTY

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Pharon Enochs: In answer, that is called modular construction, but I disagree with you on the 2nd premise your argument, the cost would be prohibitive and an additional safety hazard as well. As to your first argument, the design of modular construction has to be considered, if you want to go up, the base structure has to be designed for the additional weight, I've heard numbers concerning the cost of construction relating to the building of new schools verses building a modular constructed unit and relocating it to other areas. If you 'spread out', then the ground has to be suitable.
It has been said that a figure of say $300.00 per square foot would be a cost, other costs may be more appropriate. I do not know what the appropriate cost to build a school would be, but needless to say, I would surmise that the cost for a newly constructed school would be much greater that moving modular units to accomplish the same objective.
I, like you, are not a structural design engineer so I don't know the actual cost per square foot of a design and build unit, and I only offer as a suggestion on this matter.
So if you are correct then I bow to your suggestions. In either case, I will vote 'no' on this school bond.
This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

Pharon Enochs

The following comments are indeed the opinions of Pharon Enochs. I am just an old country boy so I do not know much about building a school. Some where in the back of my mind I often wonder why schools are not built so additional rooms, space or other type additions can be added when and if necessary. I am sure schools could be built in this manner without suffering any structural problems or anything more than a little cosmetic change in appearance . The task of moving portable buildings from campuses to campuses is not only time consuming but costly and a safety hazard as well. If the school district can afford to spend a million dollars for a score board surly they could afford to have some plans drawn up to build schools in such a manner. God bless America, President Trump and John Wayne wherever he may be.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

Copy: 'The face of the Killeen Independent School District will change in the years to come, thanks to a proposed $426 million bond issue that will be presented to the KISD board of trustees at Tuesday’s meeting.' End of copy.

Question: 'Why is this newspaper continuing to publish this comment when a number of us have already come out as saying this is not a good proposal'????

What's new in this same old proposal????

Copy: 'The recommendation includes selections from a list of projects created by KISD officials, which were presented with cost estimates during a series of meetings in November.' End of copy.

I do not hold valid a 'cost estimate' that is just a 'pie in the sky' cost estimate. The only 'cost' that is available are 'completed schools' and even that is not a true tabulation of what the schools cost and their date of completion.

This is not a true compilation of cost justification for the voter to vote on. In as much, I still am going to vote a resounding 'NO' on both this school bond and the bond issue that is and be repeated again in the future.

Copy: 'Renovations to bring existing campuses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and address security/safety issues.' End of copy.

Please bring the existing campuses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and address security issues.

The final version of the act was signed on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush and we are still contending with schools that have not been in compliance???? Schools that were built before this act should have been brought to compliance within a relatively short period of time, and schools that were built after this act should have been built to that standard so there would be a compliance issue.

Just as example, I take it, the item that is listed as;

Copy: 'Renovate and expand Clifton Park Elementary School, with partial rezoning of Bellaire Elementary School.' End of copy.

I am going to assume that this Elementary school that was built in 1964 does not have the Disabilities construction and is going to be renovated, but does not have a cost associated with this renovation. Is that true????

Therefore, why doesn't this pictorial graph also include what the projected 'estimated cost' was and the 'actual cost' for the completed school. Wouldn't that be beneficial????

Copy: 'Craft detailed how that overcrowding is somewhat relieved by the students attending the Early College High School and taking classes at the Career Center. Currently, over 1,700 students attend classes half-days at the Career Center, with over 200 students attending classes for the full day.'

Continuation of copy: 'As the student population continues to grow, Craft added, additional schools will be needed to prevent the addition of more portable classrooms.'
Continuation of copy: 'Over 200 portable classrooms are currently in use throughout the district, according to Craft. Of that number, 59 portable classrooms are located at the four KISD high schools.'
Continuation of copy: 'Construction of new schools could eliminate nearly two-thirds of the district’s portable classrooms, Craft said.' End of copy.
It would be a normal course of events to, as classrooms are not available, to build portable classrooms. Then when that became unattainable select and build a new school, or schools, and 'move some of the portable classrooms to another location, thus simplifying the construction costs and being able to extend the life of the portable classrooms.
Question: 'Are these portable classrooms to be demolished if the bond passes????

Copy: 'Another factor under consideration for the district to move quickly toward a bond issue, Craft said, was escalating construction costs.'
Continuation of copy: 'Normal cost escalation could be seriously impacted by the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma earlier this year, Craft said, and high demand not just for materials, but also for skilled laborers to work on building projects.'

Continuation of copy: 'Renovation projects included in the bond recommendation arose because a number of KISD school buildings are over 50 years old and need to be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Craft said.' End of copy.
This is another case to use a case by case inventory and where supported, build schools that are absolutely necessary, then move portable classrooms to support the overcrowding as necessary. This will reduce the nee for expensive labor that may be in short supply and reduce overall school total projected cost.
And relative to the school that are sittng 'closed', wouldn't it be more efficient to 'reopen the schools and provide bus service to the school. This bus service would be a pittance of the school cost and be utilizing the school building instead of 'giving it away'.

These are thoughts of this individual.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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