Garner ISD’s Citizens Advisory Committee unanimously approved recommending that the board of trustees call a $10 million bond election during a meeting Tuesday.
The board will make a decision on calling a bond election at the school board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in the district conference room. The deadline to call for a bond election is Feb. 14 for the May 2 election.
The plans include a new building for grades 6-12 east of the current campus, added parking west and northeast of the current campus, converting the current gym into a cafeteria/auditorium with an added kitchen and adding two new roads. The new 30,800-square-foot secondary building would have classrooms, a science lab, a special education classroom, gym, computer media center and teacher workroom.
GISD board of trustees decided to move forward with a secondary campus in November. The addition is expected to alleviate growth at the current campus by taking in junior high grades and allow the district to expand to offering grades nine through 12.
The board had previously discussed that having enrollment growth without adequate facilities could force GISD to consolidate with another school district.
Committee co-chairperson Stan Hudson said the committee firmly believes that the district should pursue this because of unfavorable outcomes that could arise from not keeping up with the growth.
“If we don’t get on these needs now, it kind of puts us behind the eight ball,” Hudson said. “We could potentially be told to be absorbed by another ISD, which may or may not be contractually favorable for us keeping a school. There’s no telling how that could turn out. We continue to lose students to the surrounding ISDs because we don’t have the high school for them to stay at. We've got to get ahead of this problem before it becomes too much of an issue to overcome.”
The new secondary building is estimated at about $7.7 million and about $3 million for the cafeteria/auditorium renovation, plus paving costs, GISD Superintendent Rebecca Hallmark said.
“The recommendation included community support and assistance in bringing the project in under budget by working closely with a construction manager to negotiate and find the best quality and most economical solutions for each project recommended,” Hallmark said.
An agriculture science building, which would be north of the current campus, is estimated at about $750,000, Hallmark said.
Hudson said the ag building will likely be funded partially by the bond and the rest may be made up by school funds and maybe grant funding. The building may open later than the new secondary campus since the first levels of agriculture courses can be done in a classroom or off-campus, and GISD is considering bringing in high school grades incrementally.
“It’s the upper levels that need the on-campus outbuilding facilities, and so that really gives us an extra two years to make sure that that development takes place and is in place by the time the students are in the respective grades needing those facilities,” Hudson said.
Hallmark said the district hopes to help answer questions from community members during this process.
“There will be facts about the project, a link for community members to ask questions, and a tax calculator placed on the district website,” Hallmark said. “We hope to provide transparency and assist community members in finding answers to any questions they may have in regards to the secondary building and renovations to create an auditorium, cafeteria and kitchen for the entire district.”