Everman ISD Community to Study Facilities
The Everman ISD Board of Trustees has chartered a community task force to study facilities in the district in the face of growing student enrollment. The highly successful bond construction campaigns resulting from elections in 2005 and 2007 have effectively doubled the square footage in the district. During the same time period, student enrollment has grown by 1,600 students and is still growing.
The Board of Trustees seeks input from the community regarding remodeling of current buildings and/or construction of new ones. Given the economic climate of the state and nation, discussions about school construction should be held in the community as well as the Board Room. Of the many questions to be resolved, there are several that surface often.
1. What can we do for Hommel Elementary?
The first issue concerns Hommel Elementary. It is a beloved campus, arguably the center of Everman’s history, as all grades attended school at Hommel at one time. The building is structurally sound and architecturally true, but aging, as any 91 year old building would do. There is no plan whatsoever to abandon or sell the building. It is a school; it needs to remain so, but updating that campus has a significant price tag, depending on how comprehensive the remodeling plan. Is it viable to spend more on Hommel that it would cost to build a new school? Hommel will still need upgrading, whether the district builds a new school or not.
2. Can we build a new high school?
The next question is JCB High School. That campus is fifty years old and feeling the impact of 1,350 student enrollment – and growing. The district is very proud of the students and school employees at that campus for taking such good care of what they have, but issues of crowding, technology, cafeteria space, library, computer labs (the list goes on) demand attention – and answers.
We all hear talk of a new high school (and new high schools are wonderful to energize a community), but we must be extremely careful about going down that road. EISD has only so much bond capacity. Once that is met, there is no more room for other projects. Yes, arguably, the community can sustain bond payments for a new high school, but nothing else for a very long time.
Thus, if the current high school is to remain and sustain growth, how does the district accommodate those students, provide a safe learning environment and spend precious dollars most effectively and efficiently? We need some discussion on this topic!
3. Can we add on to current buildings?
Yes. Townley and Baxter were both designed to add on classrooms without major disruption. We could add on at Bishop, as there is space available on that campus, but the other campus sites in the district are completely full. We cannot add on to Hommel, E. Ray, Souder, Powell or Johnson for that reason.
4. Should the EISD Board of Trustees call for a bond election?
That’s a difficult question, given the economy, taxes in general and all the needs pressing everybody these days. Another difficult question is, “how to we provide a safe learning environment in the future without a bond election? If the Board calls for an election, how much would the bond cost, and how would that impact my personal taxes? Critical discussions are on the agenda for this topic.
5. How can I get involved?
Glad you asked. The District is hosting a Community Facilities Committee to take a look at these issues and others facing EISD. You are most welcome to participate in that group. Truth is, we need you.
If you want to be engaged in these discussions, please join the Community Facilities Committee which will meet every Wednesday afternoon beginning at 4:00 P.M. in the Administration Building Board Room. You are welcome to bring friends and neighbors, as anybody who lives in the EISD attendance area may participate.
If you have questions about the Community Facilities Committee, you are most welcome to call Jeri Pfeifer at 817 568 3500, or just show up at the next Wednesday afternoon meeting. The District will be glad to see you!