Thorndale ISD voters to decide on $12.5 million bond package
Thorndale residents will have several things to decide on come May including a $12.5 million bond package put forth by Thorndale Independent School District.
There are also several races for spots on the Thorndale City Council up for grabs.
Three people have filed to run for Thorndale mayor. Incumbent Allen Hejl is joined on the ballot by Ryan Davenport and George Galbreath Jr.
Three people have filed for two spots on the City Council. Incumbents Stephanie Churchman and Larry Drabek will be challenged by Charles Barnhill.
Kim Biar was the lone person to sign up to run for Thorndale ISD school board.
Voters will also decide on a $12.5 million bond put forth by Thorndale ISD.
The scope of the bond includes a variety of projects that cover all campuses and departments in Thorndale ISD.
During the 2014-15 school year, a facilities committee was formed to begin looking at the needs of the district. This committee was made up of community members and some school personnel. This committee met many times and formulated a list of priorities.
In the spring of 2016, the board decided to take the information from the committee and have Gallagher Construction come in to do an overall assessment of all facilities including all critical systems. Gallagher then met with the Superintendent and the committee to work towards formulating a proposal to take to the board. They met several times to narrow the scope of the needed work and to make a proposal on the dollar amount for the bond.
At the January 2017 board meeting, the committee made a recommendation to the board that included a scope of work. The TISD board called for the bond election at its Feb. 13 special meeting.
The facilities committee and board focused on safety, security, and updated learning spaces when deciding on the scope of work in the bond.
The bond includes the following:
- Remove all portable classrooms.
- Creating new secure entry vestibules at the elementary and middle school.
- Building a climate controlled hallway to connect elementary and current middle school campus.
- Building 12 new classrooms and new office space for the high school including new 830-seat gymnasium, which will be large enough to accommodate graduation ceremonies.
- Renovations to create new Special Education area in 4th and 5th grade hallway.
- Renovate the existing band hall and add 1,500-square-foot addition.
- Renovate the vocational agriculture building.
- Create new parking areas to replace parking lost to new construction.
- Remove the existing maintenance facility and build a new maintenance/transportation facility that will provide space for on-site bus and equipment repairs and maintenance.
- Build new football field house.
As a result of new gym space the elementary will have dedicated access to the current middle school gymnasium. The middle school will be moved to the existing high school and the current middle school will be divided by physical barriers to allow 4th and 5th grade to occupy part of the building and high school to occupy the other part of the building.
The bond election that has been called is for $12,500,000. This would require an increase of approximately .43 cents from the current rate of $1.17. During the 2015-16 school year the tax rate was at $1.31. The rate was rolled back by .14 cents for 2016-17. This means that the bond would result in an increase of .29 cents over the 2015-16 rates. This anticipated rate is higher than originally expected due to increased interest rates and increased construction costs over the last two months.
The Board voted to use Construction Manager-At-Risk as the construction method because they felt that it would give the district the best value and provide protection with a guaranteed maximum price on any projects that are undertaken.
If the community votes to approve this bond election, construction would likely begin sometime in early 2018 and would likely be completed before the start of school in the 2019-20 school year.
For more information about the bond, visit TISD’s website at thorndale.txed.net.
There will be a Bond Election Informational meeting on Thursday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school band hall.
Early voting begins April 24.