SISD gives sneak peek of new HS

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A shot from the new gymnasium at Sherman High School.

Area residents are finally getting an up close view of the Sherman's new high school. 

The Sherman Independent School District held a sneak peek event Friday and allowed members of the public, city officials and other stakeholders to tour the school before it opened for students on Monday.

The path toward the new high school has been a long one for the district that has extended back at least four years. However, for many, the end is in sight.

"It's been a long road to get here, especially since last March with not getting to see our kids much," SISD Superintendent David Hick said. "This is the prize and the light at the end of the tunnel. January."

A view of one of the many classrooms within the new Sherman High School.

The new school facility, which developers have referred to as a "super school," sports 500,000 square feet of space, with expanded classrooms, and education space for many departments compared to the previous high school. The school will also be home to a state-of-the-art theater, among other improvements over the previous campus.

 Hicks said the project was the culmination of work from a myriad of people and groups ranging from the the crews who built the building to those who helped the project in its early stages and conceptual stage.

"The new Sherman High School is the culmination of thousands of hours of planning, thinking discussing and dreaming about the possibilities and what this community wants for its children now and for many years in the future," he said.

Work on the project started in 2016 when the design and early concept stages began. Through this process, district officials had to take small steps before the project could fully lift off the ground.

SISD Board President Tim Millerick said before the project could fully begin, officials needed to formulate a strategic plan for the district — the first since 1996. This led to facility assessments and demographic studies that indicated that the district was growing and there was a need for a larger campus.

With plans and visions in hand, the district turned its attention to financing the project. The district initially proposed a $308 million bond to pay for the high school and other improvements throughout the district. However, this was ultimately rejected by voters.

A second bond package, that included $157.87 million for the school project was approved later the same year. 

The construction phase of the project began in late 2018. While this was expected to finish over the summer of 2020, Mother Nature had other plans.

Wet conditions and general poor weather led to delays that ultimately pushed back the opening from Fall 2020 to January 2021.

While students will start filling the hallways next week, the school project isn't quite at the end of the road. Some finalized pieces, including finished flooring, painting, and other checklist items still need to be finished over the next few months. 

Visitors walk through the halls of the new Sherman High School, which will open to students on Jan. 11.

District officials said these projects should be done in time for a March grand opening event.

Subcontractors will switch to working primarily on weekends and during the night hours once class resumes, officials said.

The opening of the high school isn't good news just for the district. City officials also applauded the opening as good news for Sherman itself. The new high school is expected to generate interest from developers who are looking at it as an anchor for future growth.

"This building here is just so important to opening up southwest Sherman because as we are improving FM 1417, U.S. (highway) 75 and the new W. Travis Street, we are opening up thousands of acres to development," Sherman Mayor David Plyler said. "This whole area is going to be developed and is going to grow, hopefully with new restaurants and everything that makes our community a special place."

SISD is expected to open the doors to its new high school next week as the construction enters its final phase.