The Conroe ISD board of trustees is considering a $511 million bond package following a presentation by the district’s Facilities Planning Committee during the June 16 board meeting.
The committee recommended the $510.97 million bond to pay for a new high school, intermediate school and two elementary schools in the Oak Ridge North feeder zone as well as a new junior high school in the Conroe High School feeder zone.
The board will consider approval of a final bond amount and placement of the referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot during its August meeting.
With 56,400 students enrolled in the district during the 2014-15 school year and an additional 7,000 students projected to be added in the next four years, Superintendent Don Stockton said the proposal could help the district address demand.
“It is a solid proposal, and I thank the committee for [its]work,” Stockton said. “The goal was to meet the instructional and growth needs [of the district]for the next three to five years. The recommendation reflects [the committee’s]belief that it is going to meet our needs.”
A committee recommendation would use bond funds to help expand the capacity of Stewart Elementary School in the Woodforest subdivision by 200 students. The school opened in the 2014-15 school year with a capacity of 800 students and the expectation to expand.
Major classroom renovations at Austin Elementary and Conroe High schools are also being considered in the bond. The renovations would be completed in multiple phases and could be done without disruption of instructional time, according to the committee.
Funds could also be used to build 10 new science classrooms at Knox Junior High School in The Woodlands, upgrade safety and security features at some existing schools and for maintenance and improvements at older facilities.
The committee also recommended the district purchase land for future schools in order to avoid future increases in land prices in premium locations, such as lots near Riley Fuzzel and Rayford roads near the Grand Parkway.
Planning for growth
Board of trustees President John Husbands said the new campuses proposed in the bond package are located within areas of the district experiencing rapid student population growth.
“I saw nothing outside the bounds of practical, reasonable and needed,” Husbands said. “I won’t be at all surprised if [the final bond amount]ends up being slightly less than that amount. We always try to whittle. We are blessed as a district, and sometimes we can handle some things out of general funds. It is a starting place, nothing more and nothing less, but it is in the ballpark.”
Following the committee presentation, the board of trustees voted to use about $2.36 million of existing funds to purchase of a 15-acre parcel of land in Imperial Oaks within the Oak Ridge North feeder zone to accommodate a planned elementary school.