The S&S Consolidated Independent School District will be getting a new middle school campus after the district’s bond passed with 57 percent of the vote. Voters showed their approval for the $20.5 million bond with an unofficial election result of 525 votes for and 394 votes against.
The current middle school was first constructed in 1939 with an addition in 1955 and another addition in the 1960s. S&S CSID Superintendent Roger Reed said he believes voters approved the bond because of the reality of an aging facility.
“I think it comes down to it being in a 78-year-old facility,” Reed said. “Those people that did take a tour of it realized that it’s been a great facility and well taken care of but it’s nearing the end of its service life.”
The new campus will serve fifth through eighth grade and will be built on district-owned property in Sadler. Reed went on to express his excitement at being able to move forward with the new project.
“On behalf of the district and the board, we are truly grateful for everybody that showed up to vote,” Reed said. “We are very excited on behalf of the students of the district. We are going to be able to move forward to replace our middle school and that’s something we’ve needed for a while.”
The new campus will include a storm shelter and room for future expansion. The current middle school was built to hold 225 students and has a current total of around 200 students. The new 73,500-square-foot facility will house 20 core classrooms with a maximum capacity of 500 students, though the functional capacity for the building will be closer to 375.
Reed explained the bond will help address two different needs within the district.
“This allows us to replace a facility that needs to be replaced,” Reed said. “It also gives us a little more room for growth at our elementary campus in Southmayd.”
The bond will be funded by a tax rate increase from the current 13 cents per $100 of taxable assessed valuation to 45 cents per $100 of taxable assessed valuation. For homes with an appraised value of $100,000, the monthly impact will be $20.25. The monthly impact is an estimate and based on expected bond market conditions at the time of the bond issuance.
Reed said the next phase of work will be to sit down with faculty members, community members and the architect to begin designing the facility.
“We’ll regroup tomorrow and we’ll communicate with our architect and make sure we’re all on same page,” Reed said. “We’re all excited right now. There are a lot of people who put in a lot of hard work. We’ll get this going as soon as possible. Our goal is to have the facility open for fall 2019.”
While the current middle school is large enough for the district’s current needs, the elementary campus located in Southmayd is over capacity. The new middle school will be large enough to house fifth through eighth grades instead of the current sixth through eighth grade campus. This will take the fifth-graders out of the elementary school and move them to the new campus.
Reed explained the bond meets immediate needs but the district remains watchful of growth in the future.
“We’re in an area where we’re going to grow,” Reed said. “We’re the largest school district in the county in terms of square miles. This bond addresses immediate needs. We’ll need to keep an eye on the future. There’s a ton of potential there for future growth.”