On Nov. 3, a majority of voters in the Jourdanton Independent School District voted in favor of a $46 million bond package for various construction and renovation projects. Election results were 447 in support of the bond and 279 against.
Jourdanton ISD Superintendent Dr. Lana Collavo explained the process in deciding what specific areas of the school will be worked on first.
“Some projects cannot begin until others are complete and some projects must be completed in a timeline that does not interfere with sports or other event scheduling.”
This week, the district plans to advertise for a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for design build for the athletic field, concession stands and parking lot associated with those areas. The school will also advertise for construction manager at risk for the rest of the projects.
JISD is working with the PBK architectural firm in San Antonio. As far as the athletic fields, that timeline would be determined by the group that is the design build selection.
“That timeline will work around all the sports programs. So it will depend, when they get on board, as to what happens first,” said Dr. Collavo. “Now, in order for the Sports Complex to be done, we have to get the ag barn built and the gas tanks removed, so those will be early projects,” she said.
The field house will be another early project, because it does not interfere with instruction. Those plans are almost complete and it will be located by the gym.
“Another project that will be relatively early is the high school outdoor eating area. That is another one that will not interfere with the process of operating the school. Probably about a year into the project, we will be able to start the Career and Technology Building and maybe the band hall,” shared Collavo.
A project that Collavo said will be one of the later ones, will be the elementary cafeteria. This is because it cannot be built, until the Early Childhood Center is built. They will have to tear down the current kindergarten building.
“The renovation of the junior high cafeteria will probably be one of the later projects because we have to have two of our cafeterias open all the time,” said Collavo.
Regarding the project as a whole, Dr. Collavo said the school anticipates working all of 2016 and all of 2017. JISD hopes to be finished by late 2017 or early 2018, so it will be about a two-year process.
“We don’t have the schematic design, the design development, the construction documents for anything yet. We are almost there with the field house and we are doing that right now, because we already had the floor plans,” added Collavao.
“The first group of bonds will probably sell in February, because we need to have enough money to fund what we are doing, I can’t speak for the board, but it will be somewhere between $20 million-$30 million. They will sell those bonds and then they will sell the remainder as needed, or as the market fluctuates, so we can get our best deal.”
Dr. Collavo sees the upcoming projects as really exciting for Jourdanton.
“It is needed. There are facilities we have taken care of and tried to use for a long time. With the Sports Complex, it will give us the opportunity for lots of parking. We can share parking with three sports that way. With shared concessions stands, restrooms, and parking, maintenance needs will actually be reduced.
“The turf field will reduce daily maintenance as well. Although the buildings will certainly add maintenance–we will work that out.
“For me, it is just exciting. Jourdanton voters were very supportive and I appreciate that so much, that they care enough about the school to take on that responsibility,” said Dr. Collavo.
She also shared how the bond package has something for everyone– it is all-encompassing.
“By the end of 2016, I think a lot will be going on. There will be several projects in the process of being built, almost done, and new things starting. It really is not about what is a priority, it is more about figuring out what we have to do first, for other things to happen.”
In the area of re-rerouting traffic, Dr. Collavo said that during the project, there will not be very much going on in the front. However, once the project is complete, the school should be able to alleviate many of the struggles.
The circle will be closed. There will be a drop off that comes in the center, circles around and then goes out Peach Street and that will be one drop-off.
There will be a drop-off in the front, but the back will go down La Parita. This will allow for lots of cars to get off the road.
“Hopefully, over time we will get some help from the Texas Department of Transportation on the lights. We will see.”
“The hardest thing is turning left from the south, or coming out and turning left, anytime you have to cross traffic right now.”
“Yes, it is part of the plan to fix that as much as possible. There will always be traffic 30 minutes before school starts until right after it starts and 20 minutes around the end of school, but it should be better. More than anything, even if you have to wait, I hope it is safer,” noted Collavo.
In the area of the band program, she discussed that students already have a new band hall and a renovated band hall, but, “What we are adding for them specifically is another practice room. It will hold about 60 students so they have another place to practice and of course, the football field, is for them as well for practice, with turf. The parking lot for the football field will be lined for cars and lined for band practice so they can practice over there. Our band program has quickly grown into the new facilities that we have.”
Another vital part of the package is that each campus will have a cafeteria.
“When it is all said and done, the elementary students will have a cafeteria, the junior high students will have a cafeteria and the high school students will have a cafeteria. That is, to me a safety issue as well as a functional issue. Students won’t waste as much time because they can get in and out and they are not traveling across campus. We are excited about that.”
Dr. Collavo’s last day before retiring with JISD is Dec. 18. Theresa McAllister will serve as JISD Interim Superintendent.
“They will go through the process and name a lone finalist, soon,” said Collavo.
She said it is too early to tell if the school will be hiring within the district or not.
The bond package includes:
•Instructional/Campus Facilities, including Career and Technology Education- Ag, Family & Consumer Science, Business and IT
Early Childhood Campus with playground and elementary cafeteria, Ag Barn, Career and Technology Education Building and Art Room at High School and High School Band Room for 60 students.
•Sports Facilities Construction and Renovations
Field House and gym dressing rooms renovations, Baseball/Softball Complex with concessions, restrooms and parking, Tennis Courts at Sports Complex and renovation of existing one, High School Gym Renovationadditional seating (visitor’s side) and Football Stadium Renovation- stands, concessions, restrooms, track, turf and entry.
•Grounds and Services
Bus Yard- bus parking, office, bay, fueling station; Elementary School parking, Junior High School Parking, High School Parking and Outdoor Eating Area and Districtwide Safety Features, paving, sidewalks, canopy, demolishing of current facilities.