San Marcos: Hays CISD Developing Potential Bond for May Election
Featured Photo (above): McCormick Middle School is one of several middle and elementary schools in Hays CISD eyed for potential renovation and expansion in a prospective May 2020 bond election. Image: Hays CISD
By Edmond Ortiz
San Marcos (Hays County)–Planning for a potential bond issue from the Hays Consolidated Independent School District (Hays CISD) is currently focusing on a new elementary school and expanding eight elementary and middle schools, among other prospective projects.
The school board is due to act by Feb. 14 on whether to call a bond election and, if so, which projects to pitch to voters. Valentine’s Day is the state’s deadline to call a May 2 election.
Accommodating growth is the main driving force for Hays CISD in considering a new bond package.
Voters approved bonds in 2014 and 2017 in a school district where student enrollment surpassed 20,000 in the past year and is projected to reach more than 25,100 by 2028-2029. Five schools were projected to be over capacity in this current school year. The district contains nearly 50,000 future planned residential lots.
A Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee is working with district administrators to get community input on current and future facilities needs.
So far, the committee has been considering splitting up projects among four proposition categories: accommodating school district growth, maintaining district assets, stadium expansions and technology.
Here are some of the larger projects suggested for the bond:
Expansions and improvements at Barton, Chapa, Dahlstrom, McCormick, Simon and Wallace middle schools, totaling ($47.6 million preliminary cost estimate);
New 900-capacity, 113,000-square-foot elementary school to handle primarily the Sunfield development ($35.8 million);
Renovation and expansion of Live Oak Academy high school by converting curriculum and instruction department areas into 26,500 square feet of classroom space and parking for additional students ($8.1 million);
Move the curriculum and instruction departments to a central office ($27.7 million);
Expanding Elm Grove and Negley elementary schools ($15.6 million total);
Renovation of the Hays High School science labs ($20.9 million);
Land purchase for future growth ($3.5 million);
HVAC and fire alarm replacements or upgrades at six campuses ($22.1 million);
Roofing projects at three campuses ($6.5 million);
Flooring projects districtwide ($2.5 million);
Increase capacity up to 4,200 seats each at Johnson and Lehman high schools ($12.1 million total)
All suggested projects total $217.4 million at the moment. A master bond planning list can be found here.
Hays CISD’s demographers project that the school district will add another 5,000 students over the next decade thanks in part to large-scale residential developments such as Harvest Meadows and Sunfield. Image: Hays CISD
More public feedback meetings are slated before the Feb. 14 board meeting, and bond information sessions likely will be scheduled if the district proceeds with a May election.
Opportunities for public comments on the potential bond will be offered during board meetings at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, and 5:30 p.m. Thursday Feb. 6. All meetings will be held at Lehman High School.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.