The Hays CISD board of trustees approved amending the fiscal year 2021-22 budget to allocate funds for the construction of a building at Johnson High School for its aerospace program Oct. 25. At the board meeting Oct. 18, Superintendent Eric Wright presented information regarding the SystemsGo Aerospace Program, in which students work together and with NASA engineers to build, analyze and solve problems for rocket launches. The program began at Fredericksburg High School in 1996 and has expanded to 85 schools in four states across the country.

The pathway for the program, in partnership with SystemsGo, was approved by the board in January 2019, and Wright said he believes they have the leadership in place to grow the program. With the board's approval, plans are now in place to have space for the program.

“This program, of all the ones I’ve seen in my 18 years of being a superintendent, is probably the most hands-on in the field of STEM that allows students to work together as a team to create a product,” Wright said.

According to the budget amendment documents, $474,499 will go to Bartlett-Cocke General Contractors for the construction of the building. A total of $48,130 will go toward furniture, fixtures and equipment for the new facility, and $49,517 will go toward the design of the building.

Wright said the program could begin at level one as early as the upcoming spring semester, and the curriculum would “stair-step” up as kids work through all five levels.