The Leander ISD Citizens’ Facility Advisory Committee recommended Jan. 27 the district’s board of trustees call a May bond election.

The bond advisory committee, made up of 14 members and three co-chairs on the steering committee and 150 members among six subcommittees, recommended the board call for a bond package ranging between $563 million-$601 million. The last day to call for a May election is Feb. 17.

CFAC Co-chair Cara Owen said one of the committee’s largest priorities was ensuring the district does not fall behind on building maintenance as well as “building the necessary buildings so we don’t have overcrowded schools.”

The largest of the bond funding recommendations—$218 million—was for projects at LISD high schools. Of those projects, the committee recommended modernizing Vista Ridge and Cedar Park high schools for $69.6 million and $44.6 million, respectively. The modernization projects, CFAC Co-chair Matthew Ormiston said, are based on the square footage of the facilities.

“It’s kind of a top-down remodel, effectively,” Ormiston said. “It’s paint, carpet, flooring, ceilings, lights, HVAC and furniture replacement for these campuses.”

Some of the other needs the committee outlined for high schools include improvements to the Vista Ridge Boulevard and Park Street intersection at a cost of $5.9 million, a new facility for the Skills for Enhancing Lifelong Fulfillment program for $22.2 million, new turf for baseball and softball fields for $27.6 million, and an early college high school facility for $43.9 million.

“There’s a lot of discussion around employers looking at locating facilities in and around the school district—that this [early college high school facility] is something that they’re looking for in your 21st century school districts,” Ormiston said.

Middle school recommendations from the committee include a $31.8 million modernization of Running Brushy Middle School. The group also suggested a $3 million project for heat recovery units at Canyon Ridge Middle School, turf on the competition fields at both Canyon Ridge and Running Brushy for $2.3 million, and designs for modernizing Canyon Ridge and Henry Middle School for $4.1 million and $3.4 million, respectively.

More than $209 million worth of projects was recommended for LISD’s elementary schools, including the construction of elementary schools No. 31 and No. 32 for $71 million and $79 million, respectively. The committee also recommended modernization updates to Bagdad and Naumann elementary schools, each for $21.2 million.

“I think those are a couple campuses that fall into the five-seven years overdue from when they were originally planned,” CFAC Co-chair Clint Pruett said. “So those are definitely a very high priority.”

The CFAC outlined $3.5. million in security projects, including a $2 million cybersecurity update to the district’s network firewalls. Information technology improvements the committee recommended consist of network upgrade for $13.6 million, upgrades to student and staff devices for $7.8 million, and a second broadband network node for $7 million.

Among ancillary projects, the group recommended renovations at Grandview Hills Elementary to house a third transportation facility for $20 million. Other ancillary projects include a new science materials center plus a professional learning center for $19 million and updates to the plant services mechanic shop for $10 million.

The board has the option to solicit feedback from the community until Feb. 2. The last opportunity to discuss or approve a May bond election without having to call a special meeting is Feb. 9.

Board and committee members expressed the desire to educate the community about what a bond package would mean for LISD should an election be called.

“When we have a bond pass, it’s not money in our pocket,” Trustee Christine Mauer said. “It’s the ability to borrow. So I think making sure that the community understands that it’s not we’re going to collect a bunch of money from y’all ... and go build all this stuff. It just gives us the ability to do business.”