The Aledo ISD Bond Progress Committee presented an update to the board of trustees Monday night on how they felt the process has been so far on some of the big projects.
AISD board member and Bond Sub Committee member Jessica Brown shared some highlights on some of the projects included in the $149.95 million bond package that was approved by voters on Nov. 5, 2019.
“We met with both architect, PBK an Huckabee and went through four of the projects that are going on — Aledo elementary school No. 6, the Vandagriff conversion to an elementary school and the two middle school projects. The fiscal responsibility that’s being shown in creating kind of functional and affordable spaces is really impressive. The forefront of everything is always staying in budget, but really trying to design for what our students need,” Brown said. “One thing I liked seeing particularly on the elementary school is there’s a design expectations workbook that was developed and that was developed with input from the community, with input from our staff, with input from our students too, and so there’s a specific list and I enjoyed seeing that and them trying to frame the spaces around that.”
With elementary school No. 6 expected to be complete for the 2021-2022 school year, Brown said the architects have done a great job of making sure everything proceeds on schedule.
AISD Director of Construction and Facilities Tyler Boswell said AISD staff and the architects continue to have weekly calls.
“We continue to nail down detailed costs and we’re really trying to anticipate what the worst case scenario could be with COVID-19. We’re really trying to understand the market the best we can,” Boswell said. “We have an upcoming meeting with NCTCOG to talk about the public roadway that will be on our property. The design completion I put down July, the bidding in August and construction in September and that’s kind of a worst case, we think the design will wrap up at the end of June, but I didn’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
On the elementary school No. 6, which is across from the Annetta Cemetery on Farm-to-Market Road 5, district officials and PBK architectural firm is continuing the design development process, which includes continuing to work on detailed cost estimates, working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and working with the Town of Annetta.
The design is expected to be completed by July with bidding taking place in August and construction starting in September.
Brown also highlighted some items with the new middle school and middle school renovation projects.
“With the two middle school spaces, one thing that I thought was interesting was they actually started with the design of the new middle school and then went through and applied those same concepts to the existing middle school. One big thing I saw at the middle school that’s being done is just overall circulation and use of the existing space that we have, so really trying to utilize every space,” Brown said. “As a parent who’s had a kid at the middle school the last three years, it was excite to see what they’ve done with that space and I’m excited to see what that ends up looking like and excited for our staff to see that overall.”
The middle school projects’ schematic design process will continue with meetings and calls and a presentation to the board of trustees at the June meeting. The design is expected to be complete by October with bidding starting in November and construction beginning in January of 2021.
In relation to the current middle school renovation, the Texas Department of Transportation will be planning to widen Farm-to-Market Road 1187 in the future. The initial schematic design package was not approved and is in the redesign step.
On the middle school No. 2 project, which is off of Old Weatherford Road, the district is working with the city of Fort Worth for preliminary platting and a pre-development meeting will be held at a later date.
Bond Progress Committee Chair Matt Morris said at their last meeting, a big topic included the roadway projects.
“One of the biggest topics at the meeting last week was the marking of trees on [FM] 5 and that’s apparently been all over social media and so [Boswell] did a great job of nipping that in the bud,” Morris said. “He ensured from TxDOT that it doesn’t mean all the trees are going to be cut down. They’re doing their normal thing to plan for the elementary school No. 6.”
TxDOT is currently working on a topographical survey for FM 5 roadway improvements and doesn’t expect any tree removal from the area at this time, according to Boswell.
Morris said another topic of interest also included TxDOT.
“Along with the same theme is the TxDOT progress and what’s going on with those two roads — FM 5 and [FM] 1187 — and so they shared at the meeting that FM 5 will be [done] first. There will be a turn lane put down the middle of it to allow for traffic to move in front of Aledo elementary school No. 6, which looks incredible and so neat the way they’ve laid it out,” Morris said. “Then they also shared that FM 1187 downtown Aledo project with TxDOT will likely be pushed back due to some design issues on TxDOT’s end, so that sounds like it’s going to be a little bit farther out.”
Stuard Elementary School teacher and BPC member Maggie Lozano said it’s been great working with the architect firms and that they’ve really listened to teacher feedback.
“PBK has heard us and listened to us and the new elementary school — I keep thinking it’s going to be the school that I’m at because I just take such ownership of it, even though it’s not — [has] been done in such a great way,” Lozano said. “They want the schools to be equitable and it’s been an honor to be a part of it. From a teacher’s perspective, PBK is just hitting all the marks.”
BPC member Jeremy Pruitt said although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many things, including businesses, it has not stopped the progress on the bond projects.
“Undoubtedly it’s probably had an impact on this, but the train is still rolling and it’s been a great group effort. Those that are working together to keep these projects on schedule, from the committee’s view, is very remarkable,” Pruitt said. “The focus on taking the key concepts and the key guiding principles that were either provided by the committee or the community at various events or the specific points of focus that the district has provided to the architects has been great. To see them incorporate those things in their plans and their designs, it’s apparent that all aspects of the design are being thought out and with those guiding principles in mind. The real beneficiaries here are going to be the thousands of kids that go through these doors, so we appreciate the time that staff is putting into this and the architects are putting into this. It’s very noticeable.”
The furniture replacement at Coder, McCall and Stuard elementary schools is expected to take place over the summer and be installed sometime in July, depending on delivery confirmation.