The expansion of two Denison elementary schools took a step forward Tuesday as the district board of trustees finalized costs for the projects. The Denison Independent School Distrist’s school board approved bids and a guaranteed maximum price of about $18.77 million to expand Mayes and Hyde Park Elementary schools that will see new classroom and cafeterias added to the classrooms.


The new expansions will help address capacity issues in the district within the elementary school level. Last year, the district looked at several options to address the need for more space, including the construction of a new campus.


"Both of these projects are very similar," said Randy Reid, DISD assistant superintendent of business services. "We are trying to expand each of these campuses. The cafeteria in each of these campuses is fairly small so the plan we have is to add a new cafeteria and kitchen to each campus."


The expansions will allow the district to convert the current cafeterias into additional classroom space. An additional wing will be added on each campus to add additional classroom space and new office space for Mayes will be built.


Sherman-based Plyler Construction submitted guaranteed maximum prices of $9.71 million and $9.06 million for the expansion of Mayes Elementary and Hyde Park, respectively.


"After they looked at that, the committee decided the best option at this time was to expand the two elementary campuses," Reid said.


Reid said the two campuses were chose due to demand in the area, which has been a high growth portion of the city.


"They are the two campuses that continue to see growth in enrollment and right now they are both full," he said. "That part of town is where we are seeing the most rapid growth."


In total, both campuses are slated to gain about 10 classrooms per campus. In the case of Hyde Park, this will allow the school to retire two portable buildings that are currently in use. With the new classrooms, Reid estimated that the capacity for both school will increase by about 200 for the campuses.


Construction of the first phase of both projects is currently ongoing, and slated to be completed some time early in the school year. The first phase will see new parking added to the two campuses, and a new bus loop outside Mayes Elementary.


Early in the school year, construction of the new cafeterias will begin. Reid said both areas are isolated and crews can work without directly impacting school activities and classes.


"It is in an area we can block off, so students won’t be around where the construction is going on," he said.


Construction of the new cafeteria is expected to be completed by the Christmas break, which will allow the schools to transition into using the new space in early 2021. This will then allow crews to begin work on renovating the current cafeterias into classroom space, with the majority of construction taking place over next summer.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.