Monday, February 17th, the MISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to begin construction on a new wing to house science labs, a life skills lab and other junior high classrooms. This new construction will be funded by a combination of monies in the construction fund balance with the remainder being borrowed through low interest loan programs made available to school districts by legislation passed during the latest legislative session. The current projection of cost is slightly over $3 million dollars. The district has accumulated $2.2 million in the construction fund balance with expectations of increasing that to $2.5 million by the end of the current fiscal year, August 31, 2014. This part of the Facilities Plan will not require a bond or a tax increase.
There was a great deal of discussion about which classrooms should be included in the new construction and the final decision was based on the need to get started as quickly as possible and the fact that the majority of the grades tested under current accountability standards fall in the junior high.
The intention of the board is for this to be “Phase I” of the Facilities Plan. The elementary/jr. high building will need to undergo a major renovation or be demolished and rebuilt with new construction. Either of these options will require a “phased approach” and will take two to three years at the very least to complete. Both of these options will require the passage of a bond election and a tax increase. The trustees want to make sure they are making the best decision based on the most accurate estimates possible before presenting them to you, the public, for a vote.
We are hoping to begin Phase I this summer. The plan is to build the new wing where the current Pre-K, ACE/ESL, and the Headstart buildings are located. These buildings along with the Life Skills building will need to be relocated to begin construction. The ACE/ESL building is not a portable building and will, more than likely, need to be demolished.
I would like to thank the school board and the facilities task force for all the time and effort already expended on this project and in advance for the many more long hours to come. This is just one piece of evidence proving your school board and the facilities task force has a strong commitment to the students and faculty of Mason ISD. It also proves the Board of Trustees is willing to take the necessary steps to ensure current and future students have the best facilities possible in which to learn and grow into productive citizens.