$265 million for Hays CISD? Bond proposal to include new high school, admin building, transportation facility

A single bond proposition totaling $265 million is what that Hays CISD Growth Impact Committee will recommend to the board of trustees Jan. 9 for a possible May referendum.

With the committee’s decision, district officials will now work with citizens on what could potentially go into the bond as a February deadline to call an election looms.

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, said the committee felt that the $265 million price tag was a “comfortable figure.” He said the committee could have gone for $300 million, but he said preserving bonding capacity for future bond initiates was the focus.

Savoy said the committee’s task of ranking items within the bond was a “tough challenge,” as they had to balance the district’s needs and fiscal responsibility.

Savoy said the district’s bond initiative would not affect the district’s ad valorem rate of .4977 per $100 valuation.

Growth, however, would dictate any possible changes in property taxes, Savoy said.

“Taxes will increase as the county appraises property at a higher rate. Values will go up with growth,” Savoy said. “Taxes increase based on appraisals. They won’t have anything to do if this bond passes or not.”

Savoy said the committee voted 7-6 against splitting the bond into different propositions. Savoy said some of the dangers of possibly splitting the bond could be items dependent on another action being placed into two different propositions.

“You have to be careful that projects in one proposition aren’t dependent on another proposition,” Savoy said.

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The GIC’s proposal includes a new $122 million third high school along with two $33 million elementary campuses. Other items include a new $17 million 55,000-square-foot transportation facility to be located near Highway 21.

The GIC also recommended a new $15.5 million 100,000-square-foot administration building to be located near the Performing Arts Center to be included as well.

Savoy said the new administration building would help house all departments in one space. Hays CISD’s curriculum department is split in two separate locations, Savoy said.

“The problem we have with the current facility, as we’ve grown as a district, we don’t have space anymore to house everyone in one space,” Savoy said. “That’s one of the big problems with the central office now.”

He added one benefit to moving from the current administration building, which is located along the northbound Interstate 35 access road near Bunton Creek Road, is the district could sell the property to offset the cost for the new facility.

The GIC also included nearly $13 million for Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs in the district.

Some projects, however, didn’t make the GIC’s cut for the bond. That includes $2.6 million for additional buses.

The GIC also left off a new $3.6 million on-campus baseball and softball complex at Hays High. While “a lot of work” needs to be done for both facilities, Savoy said the GIC had to weigh out “where to draw the line.”

But Savoy said citizens will have opportunities to voice their opinion on the bond projects prior to Feb. 17, which is when the district must decide on calling an election.

Until that point, Savoy said this is still the “formulation point” of the bond.

“This is the time for people to get involved if they’re passionate about the bond one way or another,” Savoy said. “The bond is still being developed. For people who are passionate about projects that didn’t make the list, this an excellent window in the process.”

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