Update for April 23, 2015
Bond package will affect all HISD campuses
It’s been in the works for the better part of three years, but finally, after much deliberation and two incarnations of a Community Facilities Planning Committee, the Hondo Independent School District’s bond election is finally at hand.
On Saturday, May 9, voters in the HISD will get the opportunity to decide the fate of a $33.8 million bond package, which includes additions and renovations throughout the district.
The most recent planning committee began meeting in March 2014, and, after a couple of meetings, an election date of May 9, 2015 was set.
The bond would impact every campus, with additions and renovations planned for Hondo High School, McDowell Middle School and Meyer Elementary. Woolls Intermediate, the newest school in the HISD -- built in 2000 -- would receive renovations in a few areas.
In addition, the district would also construct a new transportation facility to replace the existing bus barn on Avenue I.
Hondo High School
There are more changes planned through the bond election at Hondo High School than at any other campus.
• First would be the construction of a new career and technology education center and ag facility. Plans call for its construction just south of the baseball field, replacing both the ag building on 27th Street and the wood shop facility located behind the current band hall. The HHS tennis courts, which have not been used since the completion of the Hondo Tennis Center by the city swimming pool, would be removed, and the CTE facility would cover part of that area.
The new building will contain four classrooms for ag welding, ag woodworking, construction trades, FFA, a multipurpose classroom, and a computer lab, plus shops for each of those classrooms.
• Next is a new band hall to replace the approximately 90-year old structure where the Hondo Owl Band currently rehearses. Its location is projected for the site where the current ag building sits.
Adjoining the band hall would be a new student and community fine arts center. The center would have a UIL-compliant stage with a 600-seat auditorium. That would make it a possible site to host One-Act Play competitions, as well any number of public performances. In addition, the rapidly growing HHS drama department would have a space of its own, rather than sharing the Activities Center with the HHS volleyball and basketball teams.
The fine arts center would also house the new HHS art classroom.
• The existing art classroom at the high school would be repurposed into a new science lab.
• The parking lot behind the current ag building would be expanded, covering the remaining area occupied by the tennis courts and by the open field behind the HISD administration building. The expanded parking lot would be used as a marching band practice area.
• Renovations would take place within the Activities Center. Disability access would be added to the front of the building, to accommodate the four existing second-floor classrooms.
In addition, the stage at the east end of the building would be demolished, and the space leveled and repurposed for three additional classrooms.
• A new student athletic center would be built just north of the Activities Center. This new facility would include a competition gym, dressing rooms to support the currently overcrowded girls’ and boys’ athletics, a training room, support spaces and public restrooms for use during baseball games.
• The Frank Holden Field House, at the northeast corner of Barry Field, would be doubled in size, extending toward the west.
The old locker room at the northwest corner of Barry Field, currently used by the freshman football team, and by visiting teams during varsity games, would be demolished.
• A new UIL-compliant track will be constructed at the far north end of the HHS campus, running parallel to 22nd Street. The current track is a non-regulation, 350-meter oval, as opposed to a standard 440-meter track.
Restrooms, concessions and seating will be included at the new facility, along with a new parking lot between the track and the expanded field house.
To make room for the track, the existing band hall and woodshop would be torn down, as would the remnants of Lacy Junior High (the original Hondo High School), which has served as the bus barn and maintenance facility for the past 45 years. Even with those demolitions, the track would still extend into, and across, the existing Avenue H. Therefore, funds are set aside in the bond package for the rerouting of Avenue H, which would dogleg around the east end of the track, before it connects with 22nd Street.
• A new school bell and intercom system will also be installed at HHS, along with an upgraded fire alarm.
McDowell Middle School
The district’s middle school, constructed in 1970 at the corner of 28th Street and Avenue Q, has undergone very few upgrades since it was built, other than the addition of the social studies wing and band hall in the 1980s.
• At the HISD’s middle school campus, the main project to be funded with the proposed bond is new construction of two new science lab/classroom combinations. In the same facility, a new art classroom will be constructed, along with new student and staff restrooms.
The construction would take place in the parking lot north of the school’s cafeteria.
• The current art classroom would be converted into practice rooms and storage rooms for the McDowell band hall.
• There are two existing science labs on campus -- one in the east wing and one in the west wing. Both would be renovated to current standards.
• The school’s administration offices, currently located upstairs, above the main entrance, would be moved to the ground level, below where they are now.
• The library, which shares the upstairs space with the administration office, will be expanded into the vacated space, with the addition of two computer labs.
• The McDowell gym locker rooms and restrooms will be renovated for accessibility.
• Throughout the campus, the entire HVAC system -- currently in constant need of repair -- will be replaced.
Electrical upgrades will be installed in all classrooms to keep up with rapidly changing technology.
In addition, the bell system, intercom system and fire alarms will be upgraded.
Woolls Intermediate School
The district’s most recently-built campus, on Avenue Q south of McDowell, will receive a pair of improvements through the bond election.
• The gymnasium floor, which is a rubberized surface and has now endured 15 years of constant use, will be replaced.
• In each of the three classroom wings, the plastic laminate lavatory counters outside each of the student restrooms will be removed and replaced.
Meyer Elementary School
The district’s elementary school, which currently houses pre-kinder through second grade, was built in 1954 at the intersection of 24th Street and Avenue Q.
• The second grade wing was renovated a few years back, and the bond election would lead to the renovation of the other wings to match the second grade wing. Classrooms would be configured to 800 square feet, in compliance with state requirements.
Also, a new music room will be added.
• The existing music room, along the hallway which faces 24th Street, will be reconfigured into a computer lab.
• The school’s administration office will be renovated and enlarged to include a secured entry, a counselor’s office, a conference room for staff meetings, and staff restrooms with changing stations. The existing administration restrooms will be renovated for accessibility.
• The Meyer cafeteria will undergo a renovation, including the replacement of exterior windows and installing acoustical treatment.
• Casework renovation in existing classrooms will provide improved storage.
• HVAC will be installed in the Meyer gym.
• The school will get a campus-wide fire alarm upgrade, the canopies will be reroofed, and drainage will be improved throughout.
District support services
• The district’s bus barn and maintenance facility, located along Avenue I, just west of the current track, will be replaced and moved to a site which will be determined.
Part of the money figured into the bond election is for the purchase of additional off-site property for the construction of a maintenance and central warehousing facility, and a bus barn.
Public meeting next Thursday
A public meeting was held on Wednesday night to discuss and answer citizens’ questions about the bond. A second meeting is planned for this coming Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in the Hondo High School Band Hall.
Early voting will be held beginning Monday, April 27, with all voting taking place at the Medina County Elections Office, 1202 14th Street in Hondo. Early voting concludes on Tuesday, May 5. The election is open to all registered voters residing within the Hondo Independent School District.
The early voting schedule runs as follows: Mon.-Wed., April 27-29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thurs., April 30, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri., May 1, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat., May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Mon., May 4, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tues., May 5, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Election day polling is Sat., May 9, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
To request an application for voting by mail, the request should be received no later than 5 p.m. on Thurs., April 30. Send application requests to Patricia Barton, Medina County Elections Administrator, 1202 14th Street, Hondo, TX 78861.
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