$20.8M expansion of Mayes, Hyde Park Elementary Schools continues

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
An artist rendering shows plans for the ongoing expansion of Mayes Elementary School in Denison. The school is one of two campuses that are currently being expanded over the summer break.

Over the next few months, two Denison schools will be getting a facelift as crews with Denison Independent School District work over the students' summer break to complete the expansion of two elementary campuses. Additions will include new cafeterias and additional classroom space for hundreds of students.

The expansion of Hyde Park and Mayes Elementary schools comes following concerns of growth and capacity needs within the district and was planned as an alternative to building new campuses.

The project is expected to cost $20.8 million.

"It is going to close by the time school starts, but it will probably be closer to the middle of December before all of those classrooms are available for use," said Randy Reid, DISD assistant superintendent for business services.

Construction on the project began a few months ago, but the summer break will allow crews time to start phases that were not possible during the school year.

Over the summer, district crews will begin work  in converting the existing cafeteria of each campus into 10 new classrooms. With a maximum class size of 21 students, Reid estimated that this would create an additional capacity of 210 students on each campus.

The project will also see the construction of a new cafeteria at each campus. The decision to convert the existing cafeteria rather than build a new wing of classrooms came in part to the existing cafeteria not being sized for the additional students. The new cafeteria space will be larger to allow for this additional capacity, Reid said.

Reid is anticipating that not all of the construction will be complete in August when students return to campus. However, by that point construction should be at a phase where it can continue with students on campus without interrupting classes and instruction.

Some of the new classroom space could be used as early as this fall, Reid said, noting that it isn't an immediate need. By doing so, the district can do work, including repairs, on newly vacated rooms or repurpose these spaces for other uses.

Beyond Mayes and Hyde Park, other schools will also see work. Terrell Elementary is expected to receive a new heating and air conditioning system in coming months. Other school campuses will see routine repairs that can only be done when the schools are closed.

Over the next few years, the school will grow into the new classroom space as growth continues, Reid said.

"This is the time of the year where they catch up on a lot of preventative maintenance. Each year, they go to each school and clean the campuses thoroughly," Reid said. "Those are just basic repairs that are difficult to do when there are students or faculty at the campus."