By SALLY SEXTON
In about a month, voters within the Weatherford school district will get their chance to voice their opinion during the May 11 election.
One of the highlights of the ballot for Weatherford ISD includes a bond proposal of $107,320,000, to be used for capital improvements, security, renovations, an added wing to the high school campus and more.
“This is something that the district, as well as the citizen’s committee, has done specific research on,” WISD superintendent Jeffrey Hanks said.
The bond proposal is the first put on a ballot for the district since 1999.
In September, WISD trustees formed the Citizens Facility Committee, made up of community members who were tasked with finding the needs of the district.
“From that research, there were two [main] things that came to the surface,” Hanks said. “One is the capacity issues and overcrowding and the other is safety, even prior to the Sandy Hooks incident.”
Currently, three of the seven elementary schools are at more than 100 percent capacity, with Wright at 108 percent, Austin at 104 percent and Curtis at 111 percent.
In order to fix that and accommodate future growth (Weatherford ISD’s student population is expected to grow by 16 percent over the next 10 years), renovations to existing facilities, adding a wing at the high school and moving students around to other buildings is proposed. Under the proposed bond, the Ninth Grade Center would become a middle school, Hall and Tison would accommodate grades 5-6 and the elementary campuses would house students pre-K through fourth. Additionally, a new career and technology education center would be added to the high school campus.
Required renovations to Hall would amount to a little over $8.7 million, while classroom and athletic renovations to the proposed middle school would equal more than $5 million. The bulk of the $107 million bonds comes from the high school’s plan, including the additional wing, career and technology center, Outback expansion, baseball and softball complex, track and synthetic turf field, practice fields, ag facility and earthwork, at a total of $48.7 million.