New elementary school part of bond proposal

Jan 27, 2014

The Greenville Independent School District is considering placing a slightly different bond package on the May 10 election ballot.

Instead of an originally estimated $90 million, the district is now considering a $60-$70 million package. And, instead of extensive renovations to Bowie Elementary School, the plan now is to replace the school with a new campus.

Superintendent Don Jefferies updated the district’s employees last week, providing an update on where the district’s administration and a steering committee made up of parents, teachers and business officials stand on the bond proposal.

“We have been meeting weekly since the Christmas holidays,” Jefferies said, adding the current plan on how the bond funds would be spent is based on input from architects, the committee and a community survey conducted in the fall.

Jefferies explained at the top of the list is a new Bowie Elementary School.

“The remodel cost to fix Bowie Elementary was $14 million versus $17 million for new construction,” Jefferies said.

The bonds would also be used to construct a new career and technology facility and install safety and security and technology upgrades on each of the district’s 10 campuses.

The bonds would also be used for maintenance issues which include improving parking and traffic flow, adding classrooms at various campuses to replace portable buildings, converting Travis Elementary and the Sixth Grade Center into separate schools with separate entrances and providing upgrades to restrooms, cafeterias, media centers, instructional areas and more.

“The Bond Steering Committee also decided a possible bond amount of $60 - $70 million was ideal,” Jefferies said. “The Bond Committee will meet again on February 4 to review and discuss suggestions from principals and administration.

“At that time, they should approve a proposal of big ticket items for the School Board to consider.  It will be the Board’s responsibility to approve, disapprove, or modify the proposal.

“Keep in mind that detail planning work to all facilities will not happen until the Board approves a bond proposal and such a proposal is approved by the voters. At that time, the architects will meet with staff members on each campus and site to develop the final plans.”

Jefferies said he will be traveling to each campus during the next two months to update the district’s staff on the bond process thus far and to collect feedback.