Ty Sparks, superintendent for GWISD, was enthusiastic about the upcoming election and said the proposed improvements could do much good for the district.
“Many hours of planning and thoughtful discussion have taken place before presenting this plan to our voters,” Sparks said in an issued statement. “To be transparent with the community, and consistent with the original plan, the board intentionally structured the projects under three separate measures that stand independently.”
The projects include:
• A nearly $15 million ($14,995,000) base proposal, which includes a new band hall and gymnasium for the high school, a new classroom wing for the elementary to replace the aging exterior north wing (providing better security for the campus); renovation for the main cafeteria and the primary school cafeteria; and an ADA upgrade to allow for improved access to and around the GWISD stadium.
• A second proposal, a separate voting item, calling for $3.45 million to build a new district activity center adjacent activity center adjacent to the high school. The activity center, including a new performance stage, sound system and lighting, would be used for student activities, large groups and events for the school and community.
• A third proposal, also on a separate voting measure, calling for $1.35 million to upgrade for the district athletic facilities, including artificial turf for the football field and resurfacing of the track.
Members of the board called for the election on Aug. 13. Early election voting begins in October.
As part of the planning process, the board also prioritized needed repairs throughout the district for some of the older facilities. Board members decided early in the planning, to focus the bond on upgrades and new facilities. Trustees did now want to burden the community with the cost of these repairs as part of the bond process. In an effort to address the declining state of these facilities, however, the board committed one million dollars of the district’s current savings, or fund balance, to complete the repairs, reports show.
The origins of this election trace back to 2008, when George West ISD developed a comprehensive Three Phase Master Plan that would allow all of the identified facility improvements for the district to be prioritized and implemented with three separate bond projects over time.
The first phase of the plan called for a bond issue in 2008 with various upgrades and new facilities addressing the greatest needs on each campus.
Phase II of the master plan, in 2011, called for a second bond project to complete the new high school instructional facility. Intentionally, the district asked the voters to focus on the most urgent instructional needs early in the planning process.
With those issues addressed, and Phase II completed, members of the board felt they had the community support to consider the remaining priorities with this Phase III project.
“It is now up to our voters in November,” the superintendent said.