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CSISD Looks for Votes for Millions in Improvements

During a May 12 bond election, College Station voters will have the chance to approve $67,420,000 to build two new elementary schools, renovate high school athletic facilities and make other repairs.

The oldest school campus still being used in College Station would be rebuilt if the bond issue is approved.

"It has separate buildings for each grade level and students have to go outside in order to go to lunch, to go the library or the office," said Mike Ball with the College Station Independent School District.

College Hills Elementary, built in 1961, would be torn down, and it is expected to cost $18 million to build a new one. It's only one of many proposed improvements.

"Obviously CSISD continues to grow, and our enrollment is projected to grow," CSISD Superintendent Eddie Coulson said.

To deal with a growing population, the school district is proposing building another elementary school for $16.5 million.

The school district says their 2006-2007 elementary enrollment of 3837 is 99.4% of the district's current capacity at the elementary level. Adding a new campus will increase the elementary school capacity by approximately 660 students, bringing the total elementary school capacity to 4500.

Currently, CSISD has two elementary schools that have student enrollments beyond their current capacity.

Around $8.8 million would go to renovating the CSISD athletic facilities.

The recommendation includes renovating the current restrooms to bring them to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, providing additional ADA compliant restrooms, providing ADA access to the press box, and expanding the press box to meet ADA standards. Also included is providing field turf for the athletic field and reconditioning and resurfacing the eight-lane running track.

Also proposed, adding 4,000 square feet to the field house close to the athletic stadium, and expanding the field house adjacent to the softball field by 11,000 square feet. The recommendation is to demolish the existing building and replace it with a new facility.

"We had a state of the facility study done to identify many projects, so part of that $67 million will be used to address many of those projects such as new roofs, new systems and things like that throughout the district," Coulson said.

Some $13 million would go to improvements, including renovating the career and technology classrooms at A&M Consolidated and adding a fine arts classroom at College Station Middle School.

"It's not only to build or accommodate our growth, but it's also to build in order to meet the demands of what a current facility needs to be in terms of construction and school security and school safety," Coulson said.

If voters say yes to the bond issue, the remaining $4.6 million would be spent on land acquisition and technology improvements.

The district says as student enrollment grows and programs expand, the purchase of land for future district facilities will be required. The district will also consider expanding its support facilities in future years.

Two identified needs within the district for technology include projection devices for classrooms and an upgraded network infrastructure.

If the bond issue is approved, school officials say it is projected to increase the tax rate up to 12 cents per $100 of valuation in the first year. Officials say as the tax base continues to grow, the tax rate for this debt is projected to decrease.


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