Voters approved a $24 million bond package for the Van Alstyne Independent School District that will add a new elementary school to the city and upgrade the existing one.
The unofficial results show the bond passing with 455 votes for and 293 votes against in the Saturday election.
Van Alstyne Superintendent John Spies said via email that construction on the new school is expected to begin this summer and the school should be completed for the 2018-2019 school year. Spies said he is appreciative of the support and vision of the community.
“Many people have worked hard to make this happen,” Spies said. “This community is very supportive of the District.”
The new 82,000-square-foot elementary school will be constructed to hold up to 800 students, and it will include a 6,000-square-foot storm shelter. The current elementary school has 625 students enrolled, and its capacity is 675 students. Based on a 10 percent growth rate, the district projects enrollment to exceed 800 students in the 2019-2020 school year.
“The new elementary will allow for the growth we are experiencing,” Spies said. “The gym of the school will serve as a 6,000 sq. ft. tornado shelter that could be shared with the community when school is not in session.”
With the bond package approved, the district will renovate the existing elementary school by upgrading its hallways, administrative offices, school restrooms, technology integration and add collaborative spaces. Spies said the district will conduct the renovations in the summer of 2018.
Also with the bond funds, the district will acquire a minimum of 50 acres for the future site of a high school.
Spies said the next step is for the district to finalize plan development, which is expected to occur in June. Then in July, the district will seek bids for the new school.
“We made over 20 community presentations and put in many hours planning the scope of the bond,” Spies said.
The bond will raise the tax rate by 10 cents to a total of $1.62, which is reflected in the interest and sinking component of the rate that will increase from 40 cents to a total of 50 cents. The maintenance and operations component of the tax rate will stay the same at $1.12. The new tax rate goes into effect in January, Spies said.
”There really wasn’t any contentious aspect except taxes going up,” Spies said. “The District will try to spend the bond money very carefully maximizing taxpayer dollars.”