The Sherman Independent School District discussed the next steps in the implementation of its bond proposal initiatives Monday. The discussion follows the approval of the $176 million bond package by voters on Nov. 7. The approved package includes district-wide technology upgrades, a new Sherman High School on a new site and upgrades to the HVAC and energy management system at the current Sherman High School.

After the $308 million bond failed in the spring election, voters passed the new bond package with 2,548 votes for, or 57 percent of the vote, and 1,882 votes against.

The Building Bearcats Bond Progress Committee is currently being created to provide oversight for the bond projects. The design process will begin immediately and those interested in being involved are invited to email the district for more information.

“We are jumping right into it,” Assistant Superintendent Tyson Bennett said. “We are already working towards pulling teams of folks together for the design process, the bond oversight process and we are already scheduling days to start touring other high schools. And we are starting to get as much community feedback as we possibly can on the design features of the new Sherman High School. It’s going to be something that we’re going to be very proud of.”

The district is looking to solicit ongoing feedback through community input and seeking industry opinions for the CTE programming. A portion of the design team will be selected to visit recently constructed high schools for inspiration. Students as well as staff and parents will provide feedback on the design features most needed in the new campus.

The new high school will have a capacity of 2,300 students and will be over 453,000 square feet in size. The cost for the new facility is estimated at $157,871,390.

In a previous interview, Sherman ISD Superintendent David Hicks said work on technology updates has already begun.

“Improvements to our wireless access and our internet speed and capacity,” Hicks said. “This will be an immediate improvement for classroom instruction. Simultaneously, we’ll begin working on the new high school design with staff, student and citizen input as we try to craft not only the look of the school to be exactly what this community wants but also to make sure that academically our students have access to the very best education possible.”

In addition to the new high school being constructed, the bond package will convert the old high school into a middle school. Piner Middle School and the new middle school will then each have room for sixth to eighth graders, thus allowing students to remain on one campus for a longer period of time than is currently possible.

The district has outlined a tentative schedule for the next steps in the process. A preliminary construction schedule will be established in December. The preliminary finance plan for the projects is set to be approved in January. A construction manager at risk is to be selected in January as well. The bond sale process will begin in February.

Bennett expressed the district’s gratitude for the community’s support.

“We’re extremely excited and grateful to our community,” Bennett said. “We are so thankful for the amount of support that we’ve seen and the tremendous amount of work from so many people across our community. It’s going to meet our needs within our community, our school district and our students. It’s a great opportunity and we’re looking forward to it.”