At April’s Lewisville ISD board meeting, trustees approved a list of bond projects that will begin in the 2018-19 school year. Several of the projects pertain to securing campuses and adding new facilities in growing areas of the district.
With school safety and security a growing concern for many school districts across the nation, including Lewisville ISD, school officials have begun to place more of an emphasis on keeping students safe.
Although the school district already has several measures in place to keep students safe, trustees felt there should be a priority placed on getting all bond projects that are related to safety and security started no later than next school year.
“All of the board has put security as a priority for our schools and the safety of our children,” board President Angie Cox said. “We want those projects pushed forward quicker, especially as we are building our new schools—we want to make sure those security systems are put in place.”
In May 2017 voters approved a $737.5 million bond package that included $28.8 million in safety and security improvements. The bond projects will be done over the next five years.
LISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers said year one security projects include replacing 800 security cameras and adding an additional 1,300.
“We have finished the replacement of the existing cameras,” he said. “By September of 2018 we will have in place the new cameras. We will more than double the coverage we used to have with our security cameras.”
Rogers said the new cameras will go in places such as playgrounds and pick-up/drop-off areas.
Most of the safety and security projects pertaining to securing campuses’ entrances were listed as year two—2018-19—and year three—2019-20—projects, but the year three projects were moved up to year two projects.
Rogers said the new entrances will require guests to go through two different levels of security prior to entering the campus.
“Right now, if you go to most of our schools you walk in the front doors and walk into the front office,” he said. “Then you show [school staff] your ID and they buzz you in to get into the rest of the facility where students and staff are. In the future, you won’t be able to walk in the main office; you’ll walk up to a window—which will contain ballistic glass—where you show your ID, and then you’ll be buzzed into the next level.”
The bond also has $205.7 million dedicated to new facilities. Although the district as a whole, which has 69 campuses and covers 13 cities, is experiencing a decline in student population, Cox said there are some areas that are experiencing growth, which warrants new facilities.
“Two of the schools that we are building are elementary schools,” she said. “One of them is on the east side on Josey [Lane], and that’s because of the Nebraska Furniture store and all of the growth in that Colony/Hebron area. So that is a high-growth area right now.”
The district plans to replace College Street Elementary School with a new elementary to be built on Mill Street in Old Town Lewisville.
“That school only houses about 300 kids, and we have to send 300 more kids that should be going to College Street to Central Elementary, which means it’s our largest elementary school with about 1,000 kids,” Rogers said. “So the purpose of building a new one is so that the kids that should be going to College Street can actually go back to their home campus even though it’s not going to be on College Street anymore.”
Rogers said the school will open in August 2019.
Among the list of year two projects is a 10-classroom addition to an undetermined elementary school.
“There are several campuses the district is looking at,” Chief Communications Officer Amanda Brim said. “Based on demographic projections the district anticipates the need for additional classroom space but has not yet finalized the specific campus.”
Additionally, Brim said the district will be building a new career and technical center near Harmon High School to replace its current one, which is 32 years old.
“The career center in the western part of the district will in many ways mirror Career Center East,” she said. “We have not yet finalized all the programming options, but it will replace Dale Jackson Career Center and offer to students many outstanding opportunities to pursue their areas of interest, and some new programs, too.”
Another new facility includes Hedrick Middle School. Currently Hedrick is a middle and elementary school but will be rebuilt into only a middle school. Two multipurpose facilities are also being built—one at Hebron High School and one at The Colony High School.