HCISD eyes two new elementary schools

The schematic designs for two 115,000 square foot elementary campuses slated to go into a possible May 2017 bond got the green light from Hays CISD officials this month.

By a 7-0 vote, the Hays CISD board approved the designs for two campuses that are projected to cost $33.9 million each.

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, said the cost of construction in the area, along with rapid growth, has contributed to the price tag.

“The cost of construction in our area is going up dramatically,” Savoy said.

Savoy said the design for the two new campuses uses a similar primary footprint to other recently built elementary schools. He said maintaining a similar footprint saves money in regards to architectural design.

Other new elements include open, collaborative learning areas and dedicated science laboratories for higher grade-levels. Savoys said the added labs are to place a higher emphasis on science at an earlier age.

“Science and math are critical areas for your higher paying career pathways and for the science fields,” Savoy said. “There’s an emphasis on making sure you get the interest in science started earlier and you get the ability to do more science.”

One of Hays CISD’s new elementary schools would be located at High Road and Highway 21 in east Hays County, should voters approve the district’s bond initiative. Savoy said the district has property in those areas, which is currently where the district plans to possibly relocate its transportation center.

The goal of Hays CISD’s new campus is to alleviate overcrowding at Hemphill Elementary, along with potential overcrowding concerns at Fuentes, Tobias and Camino Real elementaries.

“It’s picking up the growth coming in the southeast part of our district,” Savoy said.

The second campus is slated as a replacement for Buda Elementary’s lower campus, which has been affected by several flood events over the past few years. The new Buda Elementary campus would be located on Old San Antonio Road and Manchaca Springs Road.

Savoy said the district had considered a possible $2 million roof replacement for Buda Elementary during discussions for the 2014 bond. However, two flood events over the past two years have “sort of sealed the fate of the lower campus building.”

“You can’t invest another $2 million or more in a building that could be flooded away,” Savoy said.

While the district is anticipating moving the lower campus, Savoy said the district would meet with community members to discuss preserving the historic upper campus.

“We know that’s a special and historical place for the community,” Savoy said. “It’s been operating for more than 100 years in some form or fashion.”

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