Questions about potential athletic stadium upgrades overshadowed discussion of the 2020 bond recommendation at the regular meeting of the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday.
The $265 million bond recommendation was presented to the KISD board by the bond steering committee co-chairs and the district’s administration on Tuesday night. However, discussion over a potentially $10 million upgrade to the athletic stadium at the new high school on Chaparral Road was discussed more vigorously by the board.
The board approved, with a 7-0 vote, a contract amendment with PBK Architects for the design expansion of the athletic stadium construction at the new high school that is set to open in the fall of 2022.
Adam Rich, the district’s director of facilities, presented the amendment to the board.
The new high school project budget from the 2018 bond includes just over $4 million for a 1,600-seat stadium and $10.44 million will be allocated from the district’s strategic facilities fund to pay to expand the stadium at the new high school.
The expansion will add almost 3,000 seats -- from 1,600 to 4,500 -- to the stadium plan. The stadium will also feature a 4,500-square-foot press box with an elevator, an additional ticket office, enlarged concessions and restroom facilities, an upgraded scoreboard, a visitor locker room with restroom and shower facilities and additional roadways and parking improvements.
Trustees Joann Purser and Brett Williams both shared concerns about the upgrades to the new school because they did not know if the community would vote yes on the upgrades to Harker Heights, Shoemaker and Ellison in the new bond. Williams asked Superintendent John Craft if the stadium at the new high school, with the upgrades, would be good enough to host athletic events if the upgrades at the other three schools do not happen. Craft said it is possible that the KISD schools will be playing at Leo Buckley and the new high school’s stadium.
Purser also shared concerns over the traffic of Chaparral Road, a two-lane road, during KISD athletic events.
Rich said he will bring an information item forward in about a month updating the board on the design of the high school and the stadium and the district will send out for bids. After a May election, assuming the board approves a bond election, Rich will come back again for the board to approve or deny the bid for the construction of the stadium at the new high school.
Rich said the upgrades to the new high school stadium are designed to match the upgrades to the stadiums at Shoemaker, Harker Heights and Ellison if they are approved through the new bond.
Craft went through a presentation outlining the process of the bond steering committee meetings to the board of trustees to catch them up on what happened over the final two meetings of the bond steering committee.
Rich went over all of the projects that are in the current bond recommendation.
The bond recommendation that was presented to the board by the co-chairs of the bond steering committee, Brenda Coley, Hal Schiffman and Bill Kliewer, includes eight total projects totaling $265 million.
The eight projects are, two new elementary schools, the rebuilding of Harker Heights and Peebles elementary schools, the renovation of Ellison High School and upgrades to the athletic stadiums at Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker high schools.
The upgrades to the athletic stadiums would be considered as a separate proposition from the school building projects. By the district’s estimates, the five school projects would cost about $200 million and the upgrades to the stadiums is about $60 million.
Craft also said at the final bond steering committee meeting Dec. 17 that he plans on presenting a proposition to the board that the district pays around $110 million from its strategic facilities fund to pay for a new elementary school and a new middle school.
The $110 million comes from years of Impact Aid transfers, general fund overages and other transfers since 2014, according to Taina Maya, the district’s spokeswoman.
Megan Bradley, the district’s chief financial officer, gave an update on the district’s heavy Impact Aid status and said the district still needs around 107 students to reach the 35% federally connected threshold of federally connected students. The district is currently at 34.76% federally connected students, according to Bradley.
At the beginning of the meeting, the board of trustees was recognized by the district’s administration as part of School Board Recognition Month. Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra and Harker Heights Mayor Spencer Smith both had resolutions presented to the board, honoring the members.
“This group of seven trustees, they understand what is important, and that is our students and our students’ success,” Craft said.