Hutto ISD voters are likely to see a bond proposition upwards of $180M on their election ballots this May.

According to facility studies and architecture materials presented to the Hutto ISD board of trustees Jan. 24, the bond proposition will include funding for expansions and renovations to all levels of education across the district as well as construction funds for the district’s third middle school.

"We’ve done a good job as a community over the past 10 years handling elementary school growth," Henry Gideon, assistant superintendent of operations for Hutto ISD, told trustees on Jan. 24. "We have bought ourselves time in the next five years ... to then begin to focus on the secondary need where the next wave of growth is going to be."

Trustees saw materials for expansion and renovation plans for the district's elementary, middle and high school campuses during the discussion.

Expansions and improvements on Hutto High School are likely to be included in the final list of items for bond funding. That expansion could cost up to $60 million, according to documents shown to the board of trustees Jan. 24. The facilities study committee—composed of ISD officials, community members and consultants—found fine arts and career technical education improvements in the high school to be a high priority.

"I think that is a highlight of this bond—bringing state of the art programs to our kids," Hutto ISD Superintendent Celina Estrada Thomas said during the meeting.

Trustees also saw plans for the construction of a new $59 million middle school. Pfluger Architects partner Jessica Molter told HISD officials a third middle school is the district's most urgent need.

Renovations on Hutto Elementary—the district's oldest populated campus—was another project explicitly mentioned in the presentation to trustees Jan. 24. Gideon said the classroom sizes of Hutto Elementary are not up to the same standard the district has kept when building its two newest elementary schools.

"We want to modernize all of our elementary campuses depending on what our board and what our voting public authorizes us to do," Gideon told Community Impact Newspaper.

At the end of the night, trustees suggested adding funds to the bond proposition in order to provide equity for older elementary school and middle school campuses. Essentially, as newly constructed campuses come online, trustees and school officials want the district's older campuses to have access to similar technology, classroom sizes and equipment.

"Little things like [furniture, fixtures and equipment] really matter," trustee Edgar Padilla said. "I think that is absolutely critical to the equity component and really the growth and safety component of those campuses."

Molter told school officials that adding furniture, fixtures and equipment upgrades will cost approximately $500,000 for each elementary school campus and $1.5 million for each middle school campus.

Other proposed projects

Improvements for Memorial Stadium—Hutto High School’s football field—are also likely to be included in the final list of bond fund projects. Trustees and school officials said the press box is in dire need of renovation, and that project in of itself is looking at a $5M price tag, according to ISD officials. The school district is also looking at plans to improve the stadium's seating, concessions, bathrooms and track.

The facilities study committee additionally prioritized the construction of a transportation facility for the district to house its school buses. A white fleet of district vehicles was also included in the list of recommendations to Trustees.

February meeting

No decisions on any bond elections have been made by school officials or the board of trustees yet, though the process means it is likely trustees will see the issue come up on its next agenda.

The Hutto ISD board of trustees' next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Feb. 14, and the last day a school district can legally call to place a bond proposition on the May 4 ballot is Feb. 25. If the school district wants to go to voters to request bond funds in May, it will have to decide to do so at its next meeting.

Hutto ISD last called a bond election in 2008, and voters approved $128 million in bond funds for the school district. The last of those bond funds was allocated in 2018 to begin construction on the upcoming ninth-grade center, a facility that will eventually expand into the district's second high school.