Hays CISD HS bands get new truck, band tower

By Brittany Anderson

Hays CISD high school bands are getting a few much-needed upgrades after years without the proper space and equipment necessary for marching band practices and competitions.
Following rounds of applause, the Hays CISD school board unanimously approved Oct. 25 the purchase of a truck for the district’s Fine Arts program and a band tower and practice pad at Hays High School (HHS).
During the public forum, six parents — several of whom are Hays Band Boosters members — encouraged the board members to approve the two items that would provide basic needs for the program and help the bands stay competitive.
The previous band tower at HHS was removed when the new music building was built after the 2017 bond passed, but was never replaced.
The tower will provide the “appropriate and safe” facilities for band directors to observe and teach rehearsals for the band and color guard. Currently, they are renting and utilizing a scissor lift.
Two other manufacturers were considered before settling on Educational Steel Products, LLC. The cost of the tower, which includes its delivery, installation, soil test, concrete foundation and 10% contingency, is $121,825.
HCISD Chief Operations Officer Max Cleaver said that the tower could be expected within 16 to 20 weeks.

Educational Steel Products band tower that will be purchased and installed. Photo retrieved from the Hays CISD Board meeting agenda packet.

Additionally, the new marching field (practice pad) was not part of the music building construction process. The cost of resurfacing and painting the field was $18,472. Band fundraisers and boosters split the $6,472 striping and dotting fee, and $12,000 for the sealcoating was paid by the band program.
Board member Merideth Keller said she feels that they “owe it” to the band program and boosters club to reimburse them for the cost of the practice pad remodel, as well as the scissor lift rental. Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright also confirmed that they are allowed to do this.
“It was roughly $18,000 for the resurfacing and painting of the marching field that, remember, we took away,” Keller said. “There were a lot of things that were jacked up in that 2017 bond. So we need to make it right as we learn about it. My personal opinion is that we reimburse [the $18,472]to the band program and booster club.”
The board also unanimously approved the purchase of a semi-truck for the Fine Arts program. Currently, the district owns two semi-trucks that are used by all three high school bands for traveling to games and competitions. The purchase of a third truck would allow each band program access to at least one truck when needed.
Over the past week, administration received quotes for two potential trucks, but both were sold shortly after being listed. The board’s approval of the item allows for the purchase of a truck in an amount not to exceed $85,000 or 300,000 miles when one becomes available.
Board member Will McManus and Board President Vanessa Petrea agreed that while a minimum of one truck and one trailer per school is necessary, anything more should come from booster organizations or out of their own budget.
Board members remained very supportive of the band’s struggles and said that they looked forward to “making it right.” Petrea also echoed a few other board members in saying that the HCISD community should communicate with the board if there is something like this going on for as long as it has.
“I want to encourage you as boosters or anyone listening to advocate for your programs,” Petrea said. “If you see something this egregious, which I feel like this is, come talk to us.”

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About Author

Brittany Anderson graduated from Texas State University in August 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously worked at KTSW 89.9, Texas State University's radio station, for nearly two years in the web content department as a writer and assistant manager. She has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch since July 2021.

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