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MISD discusses renovations, bond election

By Austin King
Oct. 11, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Thursday's facility study discussion of Marshall Independent School District's campuses revealed a number of problems with the many older local schools.

Marshall trustees met to allow the district's architecture advisors, Corgan Associates, and financial advisors, Southwest Securities, to publicly discuss their findings on the district's recent facility study and the feasibility of a bond election.

"We started this process last summer," said Dr. Marc Smith, MISD superintendent. "We completed our research and that has been compiled for the comprehensive study we have tonight."

At the board meeting, no action was taken and nothing has been determined as far as a possible bond election is concerned. The meeting was only informational.

Steve Holsey represented Corgan at the meeting. The company has been involved in education design for 54 years.

"Our team did a facility condition assessment," Holsey said. "We looked at all of your facilities without bias."

Holsey explained that each campus was given a grade of 1 to 5 depending on its condition and how well it meets Texas Education Agency's standards, with 5 the worst. The higher the number, the more it will cost to renovate the school to TEA guidelines.

"If a school has more than 4.25, you're going to spend more trying to bring that facility up to speed," he said. "It's going to be more economical to build a new facility than renovate."

Between the schools, a few problems were common at most MISD schools, such as difficulty in locating front doors, security and drainage.

"The front doors are hard to find," Holsey said when discussing Washington Early Childhood Center. "The front door's not secure. In fact, that's common at some of the other facilities. Drainage is also a problem."

Many school's classrooms also do not meet TEA standards of today. All of MISD's schools are decades old and as such they are not required to update classrooms to TEA standards unless the school performs renovations or adds new wings. Holsey added problems such as these up to grade each school.

"These ratings are kind of like an onion," he said. "You peel back one piece of the onion, then you have to peel back another part and more. It all adds up and you get that rating of 4.25 or more."

Every MISD school except Marshall High School received at least a 4.25. MHS is MISD's newest school, having finished construction in 1980. Since then, the last time MISD successfully passed a bond was in 1988, which added a new wing to MHS.

Given the ratings each school received, Holsey offered a number of possible solutions for the board to consider. These plans are only suggestions. No action has been taken by the board or MISD administration.

The first option costs an estimated $183,566,631 to build four new elementary schools, one new middle school or high school and to renovate MHS into either a middle school or keep it as a high school.

The second costs an estimated $164,232,253 and calls for four new elementary schools that will house kindergarten to fifth grade students, a new middle school for sixth to eighth grade students and to renovate MHS.

Option three costs $169,194,543 and calls for renovations to Washington Early Childhood Center, MHS four new elementary schools, a new middle school for fifth to sixth grade and a new seventh to eighth grade school.

Option four is estimated at $148,013,855 for renovating Washington Early Childhood Center as well as Crockett, Moore, South Marshall and Travis Elementary Schools, a new sixth to eighth grade school and renovating MHS.

Finally, the last option is estimated at $167,348,182 and entails renovating Washington, Crockett, Moore, South Marshall, Travis and making MHS a middle school. A new high school would be built in this plan.

As for cost, Brian Grubbs of Southwest Securities offered speculations on tax rates based on a possible bond's cost. Each speculation is for a 25-year period and Grubbs offered five scenarios with different bond prices. Much like the options Holsey offered and the possible bond as a whole, nothing has been determined

With a $120 million bond, Grubbs estimates a tax rate increase of about 33 cents. With around $130 million, a raise of about 35.8 cents is estimated. A bond of $140 million estimates to a speculated increase of 38.5 cents. With a bond of about $150 million, the speculated increase would be 41.3 cents. Finally, a bond of about $170 million speculates for an increase by 46.8 cents.

MISD's tax rate is currently $1.04.

Smith reaffirmed the fact that as of now, nothing has been determined. All costs and ideas are purely speculation and estimates.

The rating each school received and their ages are as follows; Washington Early Childhood Center, 4.59, 54 years old. George Washington Carver Elementary School, 4.53, 55 years old. David Crockett Elementary, 4.40, 58 years old. Robert E. Lee Elementary, 4.70, 62 years old. J.H. Moore Elementary, 4.60, 59 years old. South Marshall Elementary, 4.81, 65 years old. William B. Travis Elementary, 4.58, 57 years old. Sam Houston Middle School, 4.70, 49 years old. Price T. Young Middle School, 4.75, 49 years old. Marshall Junior High School, 4.73, 89 years old. Marshall High School, 3.18, 33 years old.



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