Denison ISD Superintendent Henry Scott gave an update on changes within the District as a part of the Denison Development Alliance Economic Development Summit at Grayson College Friday. The summit brought together officials from the city of Denison, local business leaders and other economic entities to report changes and growth in the local economy.

Denison ISD Superintendent Henry Scott gave an update on changes within the District as a part of the Denison Development Alliance Economic Development Summit at Grayson College Friday. The summit brought together officials from the city of Denison, local business leaders and other economic entities to report changes and growth in the local economy.


The recent move to renovate many local schools came after a 2010 faculties task force was created by the Denison School Board to evaluate District facilities and address problems with the aging structures. In total, about $90 million in tax funding has been invested in renovating District schools, including the construction of a new high school, said Scott.


The renovations come as part of a District-wide initiative to increase the efficiency of schools within the District. This measure led to the District’s decision to consolidate seven elementary schools into five, with Layne closing its doors two years ago and Golden Rule expected to close at the end of the school year. The district also made the decision to redraw school boundaries to better balance school populations and leave room for growth at most schools.


Included within the renovations were the additions added onto Mayes Elementary in 2011. The expansion, which was made in preparation of an influx of students from Layne, expanded the school classrooms by nearly 40 percent, said Scott.


Hyde Park got major improvements aimed at strengthening security on campus. Due to the heavy use of portable buildings at the school, the facility was impossible to fully secure, said Scott. This led the District to expand the campus, adding more classroom space.


Lamar Elementary received a new wing, which allowed it to double the size of its cafeteria. All the renovated schools also received additional security upgrades, including controlled points of entry. New kitchens were also part of the deal, said Scott.


B. McDaniel will become the new intermediate school, as fifth and sixth grades are moved to the campus. This will allow seventh and eighth grades to move to the current high school, which will be transitioned into the new middle school.


The intermediate school has received new pick-up and drop off locations, which will take traffic off of adjacent streets. In addition, the school will no longer be using its portable buildings, thus increasing security on the campus.


"Every classroom will be a secure classroom," said Scott.


The crown jewel in the ISD renovations and constructions, however, will come at the start of the next school year as the new high school opens. The project was funded with $61 million in taxpayer funding, and an additional $10 million from the Smith Foundation, said Scott.


Included in the new facility will be a library, which is twice the size of the current library. District officials elected to dismantle and move the current multipurpose building, rather than build a new one at the high school. Scott estimates that moving the structure will save the district $1.5 million.