Hutto ISD calls for $194 million bond election in May

Residents living in Hutto ISD boundaries will see a $194.4 million bond proposal on their ballots this spring.

Following months of committee meetings, the Hutto ISD board of trustees Feb. 14 voted unanimously to put the bond proposition on May’s ballot.

"We’ve been going over this," Hutto ISD board President Connie Gooding said. "This was not a hasty decision."

Campus additions and improvements


According to HISD documents, $167.96 million in bond funding will go toward improvements on the district’s elementary schools, middle schools and high school. That includes construction of a third middle school adjacent to the upcoming Benjamin "Doc" Kerley Elementary.

Four elementary schools—Cottonwood Creek Elementary, Nadine Johnson Elementary, Ray Elementary and Veteran’s Hill Elementary—will receive funding for improvements should the bond proposition pass.

District documents outline improvements for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for all elementary campuses except Nadine Johnson. All of the schools will receive upgrades to classroom and library furniture, and the bond proposition calls for roofing and building facade improvements.

"This doesn’t exclude the other schools; Kerley [Elementary] is getting new furniture when it opens," said Jessica Molter, a partner with Pfluger Architects. The architecture firm assisted direction of the bond package in the months leading up to the Feb. 14 vote.

The district will direct $14.8 million in funds toward "modernizing" Hutto Elementary School.

Preliminary designs previewed by the district show all but one building in the Hutto Elementary School campus will undergo substantial renovations, including the demolition of one 15,000-square-foot classroom building. The bond proposal shows the district will construct a two-story building to house 21 classrooms, a music room and administrative space on the campus site.

During a Jan. 24 meeting, district officials stated the district’s middle school facilities were an identified area of need. In response, trustees voted to allocate $77.76 million in bond funds toward middle school construction and improvements—the highest figure for any of the district’s grade levels.

The bond proposition includes funding for the construction of a new $59.63 million middle school—the district’s third middle school campus. That school will be located west of SH 130 and house 1,200 students in a 160,000-square-foot campus. Molter told trustees the middle school is scheduled to open in 2024.

A combined $20.75 million in bond funds is proposed for renovations and additions to Hutto Middle School and Farley Middle School. Those projects include additions to the campus for fine arts, building improvements, furniture upgrades and renovations for project-based learning classrooms.

The bond proposition additionally outlines $33.71 million earmarked for additions and renovations to the district’s lone high school.

District officials in January stated the district needs to appropriate funds toward career technical education funding at Hutto High School, and the bond proposition documents specifically mention additions and renovations to spaces for those programs.

"There will be a lot of planning opportunities for us to really shape these programs," Henry Gideon, assistant superintendent of operations for Hutto ISD, told trustees. "The language of the bond is very general."

Other additions outlined by the district include renovations and additions to spaces earmarked for the fine arts, including band, orchestra, choir and theatre buildings. Hutto High School will also receive building improvements, per district documents.

Remaining proposed bond projects


The district’s Memorial Stadium, the football and track field adjacent to Hutto High School, will see $21.8 million in upgrades should May’s bond proposition pass.

District documents specifically outline using bond funds to include seating for 10,000 attendees, as well as improvements to the stadium’s parking, press box, restrooms and concessions.

Memorial Stadium’s track will receive upgrades, according to documents, and bond funds are requested for baseball and softball field upgrades.

More than $6 million combined is being requested by the district to purchase buses and to add to Hutto ISD’s white fleet—vehicles such as maintenance trucks or vans. Construction of a $5 million transportation facility is included in the bond proposition, as well.

Hutto ISD’s bond proposition includes $20 million combined for technology improvements, security upgrades, land purchases and land development. The largest bulk of that—$16.5 million—would go toward technology purchases.

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.
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By Iain Oldman

Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.


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