RRISD board considers boosting bond proposal to $591.23 million

Round Rock ISD's proposed sixth high school on Pearson Ranch Road in Austin is one of the top ticket items in the district's 2017 school bond.

Round Rock ISD's proposed sixth high school on Pearson Ranch Road in Austin is one of the top ticket items in the district's 2017 school bond.

A Round Rock ISD citizen bond committee has recommended $530.13 million worth of projects be included in a possible bond vote in May, but RRISD trustees may want to add more projects.

Trustees reviewed projects Thursday that they indicated during a Jan. 26 board workshop they might want to include in a bond proposal on top of the citizen committee's recommendation.

If those projects are included, they would add $61.1 million to the proposed bond, bringing the total amount to $591.23 million, according to RRISD staff.

The bond proposal remains a work in progress. Trustees have until Feb. 17 to call for a bond election, which would be held May 6.

RRISD staff expects to put a final proposal before trustees for a vote during the board's next regular meeting Feb. 16, said Corey Ryan, the district's executive director of communications and community relations.

Board President Diane Cox said trustees would hold a workshop Feb. 15 to further discuss the bond proposal before a final vote.

The citizen bond committee, which included participation from more than 100 community members, serves an advisory role in the bond process by assessing needs and making a recommendation to the board.

Trustees, in turn, can alter or outright reject the committee's recommendation before making a decision.

Projects trustees considered adding to the bond Thursday include:

  • $15.5 million for classroom expansion at Ridgeview Middle School and $11 million to add classrooms at Patsy Sommer Elementary School;

  • $12 million for a new football stadium and outdoor athletic facilities at Cedar Ridge High School. Ryan said the stadium, which would be the district's third, would expand field availability for RRISD's athletics program and alleviate the need for the district to schedule football games on Thursday nights in the fall;

  • $11 million for future land purchases for new school construction;

  • $3.1 million of additional money toward the citizen bond committee's proposal to put $10.2 million toward expansion Brushy Creek Elementary School;

  • $6 million for the design of auditoriums at Round Rock and Westwood high schools; and

  • $2.5 million for the design of early college and health professions high schools.


Trustees debated both the total dollar amount of a potential bond and specific projects that might be included. Several trustees said they worried about adding more money to the proposal, which already would ask voters to approve a tax increase that would provide more than half a billion dollars for the district.

"I guess I'm more concerned of the sticker shock that our community might have if we throw greater numbers out there,” trustee Suzi David said.

The citizen bond committee's recommendation proposed two scenarios for how the propositions could appear on ballots. One scenario would have three propositions included separately, and a second would combine the second and third propositions into one while keeping the same proposed projects and funding amounts.

Committee members arrived at their proposal after considering a wish list of bond projects totaling more than $900 million.

Trustee Paul Tisch said he was concerned that the committee may have been pressured to not include some projects based on an assumption that RRISD would plan for another bond in 2020.

Ron Buffum, the committee chairman, said the committee's recommendation developed after members first identified the immediate needs of the district.

The citizen bond committee's original recommendation includes:

Proposition 1: $369.8 million for growth, renewal and safety projects

  • $130 million for RRISD's planned sixth high school on Pearson Ranch Road in Austin;

  • $79.7 million for districtwide capital renewal and replacement projects;

  • $50 million for districtwide technology updates;

  • $35 million for a new elementary school in northeast Round Rock;

  • $30 million for the second phase of McNeil High School's master plan;

  • $22 million for the fourth phase of a master plan for Westwood High School;

  • $13.7 million for districtwide safety-related technology items; and

  • $9.4 million for school bus replacements and upgrades.


Proposition 2: $109.5 million for innovation and growth

  • $45 million for the second phase of the C.D. Fulkes Middle School master plan;

  • $25 million for a career technical high school program;

  • $20 million for an athletics expansion and six new classrooms at Canyon Vista Middle School;

  • $10.2 million for 12 new classrooms to replace portables at Brushy Creek Elementary School;

  • $6.8 million for eight new classrooms to replace portables at Forest Creek Elementary School; and

  • $2.5 million for cafeteria expansion and a courtyard at Stony Point High School.


 

 

 

Proposition 3: $50.83 million for fine arts and athletics 

  • $22 million for a new indoor aquatics center;

  • $20 million for an auditorium at RRISD's planned sixth high school;

  • $3.3 million for a gym addition at Hernandez Middle School;

  • $2.3 million for districtwide stadium and durable field enhancements at middle schools;

  • $1.8 million for upgrades to Dragon Stadium;

  • $600,000 for a new track at Hernandez Middle School;

  • $415,000 for an athletic training facility at Grisham Middle School; and

  • $415,000 for an athletic training facility at Chisholm Trail Middle School.


 

 

 

 


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