Usually when a bond program gets up and running, voters can see heavy machinery clearing a site or they can see steel coming out of the ground. Their eyes tell them that work is underway and that the dollars they approved are being spent.
But if those voters listen this fall, they may hear the most tangible product so far from Bond 2017 – melodic strains from new musical instruments, replacing some that are 30 years old. Most won’t be outside with marching bands, not yet anyway, but the new instruments are arriving.
It was less than a year ago in November, on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, that an $898.4 million bond program was approved with 80 percent of the vote, at the time the seventh-largest in Texas school bond history.
The new bond program continues the transformation that began with the 2007 bond program, which paid for the replacement of 13 elementary schools and a host of other improvements across the district. SBISD’s nine oldest elementary schools and Landrum Middle School will be rebuilt as part of Bond 2017.
The first issue, or sale, of bonds earlier this summer netted $147 million in proceeds, with nearly $2.3 million already spent. The district had earned $247,500 in interest as of July 31.
Musical instruments aren’t all that’s happening with Bond 2017. Every SBISD department has been gearing up for more substantive work. Mechanical and lighting upgrades at two PreK centers is complete. Project Advisory Teams (PATs) have been formed and are meeting. Buses have been ordered and money saved, thanks to a couple of generous grants.
And there’s more. Here’s a look at work both completed and planned.
Career and Technology Education (CTE): The CTE Task Force has completed Phase 1 of its work, has kicked off Phase 2 and will report its final recommendations to Trustees in December.
CTE Task Force Interim Report to BOT 6-25-18
Fine Arts: More than $2 million in band and orchestra instruments have been ordered, and many delivered. Old instruments will be sent to the district’s warehouse and sold at auction.
SBISD Begins Replacing Musical Instruments
Technology: School readiness for digital expansion was presented at the Aug. 13 workshop. Student devices are arriving and being distributed on campuses now and will continue throughout the school year.
School Readiness for Digital Expansion Presentation to BOT 8-13-18
Transportation: Boosted by a couple of grants worth more than $500,000, the Transportation Department has ordered 25 buses that are 15-17 years old. “(The grants) make our money go further,” said Travis Stanford, director of construction and planning.
Facilities: Trustees in March approved seven architectural firms to work with Bond 2107, firms that Stanford said have extensive experience working with public schools, as well as a number of professional services firms. Stanford said response was high and that a lot of firms want to work with Spring Branch ISD.
Projects: Mechanical and lighting work is complete at Bear Boulevard and Lion Lane pre-K centers. Crews will be ready to begin similar work at the district’s other pre-K centers once the school year ends in May. A Master Plan Advisory Team (MPAT) will begin work in September on a master plan for Memorial High School. Project Advisory Teams (PATs) for Spring Woods High School, Buffalo Creek Elementary and Treasure Forest Elementary will begin meeting this month to help design renovations on those campuses. Renovation work to include roofing and window replacement in the gym at Spring Oaks Middle School is in the design phase.
District-wide, standards have been developed for turf fields and high school auditoriums, and specifications refined for middle schools (Landrum, scheduled to be replaced). A Request for Qualifications is being developed for Construction Managers at Risk (CMR).
Next Steps: Preliminary/fact-finding work at Tiger Trail, Wildcat Way, Cedar Brook Elementary, Hunters Creek Elementary, Landrum Middle School, Memorial High School, Northbrook High School and Stratford High School. A committee will be formed to study furniture, fixture and equipment needs at new replacement elementary schools; a separate furniture committee will look at furniture needs at the secondary campuses.