Klein ISD eyes $78 million in districtwide projects this year

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Klein ISD has spent $376 million to date of its 2015 school bond, which authorized $498.1 million for districtwide projects, said Robert Robertson, KISD associate superintendent of facility and school services, at the Feb. 11 KISD board of trustees meeting.

About $122 million remains for 2019 and 2020, and Robertson said he expects $78 million will be spent this year. The cost for 2020 is yet to be determined and may be adjusted depending on priorities, he said.

“From 2016 to 2018, the bulk of money went to construction of new schools,” Robertson said, adding funds for the next two years will be mostly allocated for repairs, renovations and maintenance.

Projects that were completed or partially funded through the bond include the construction of Klein Cain High School at $148.1 million—which does not include funds allocated from the 2008 bond—and Hofius Intermediate at $49.8 million.

The Klein Forest High School career and technical education program and dance space addition totaled $28.7 million, he said.

“[The Klein Forest projects] were originally planned as a replacement of a 50,000-square-foot career center … but because of changes in the CTE program and graduation requirements, that project grew to an 85,000-square-foot [project]. … We added the dance space addition on to the athletic events administration building, and that opened up last fall,” he said.

Other recently completed projects include safety and security enhancements on the front entrances of Northampton and Haude elementary schools for $4.3 million.

Projects in progress include road extensions near Elementary No. 33 on Spring Stuebner Road and completing a gymnasium at Hildebrandt Intermediate School, which is located at 22800 Hildebrandt Road, Spring.

“Also in construction and nearing completion is Northcrest Ag Facility. We have some additional work left to do there with a canopy on the cattle side that will go in after the livestock show season,” Robertson said.

Unplanned projects and costs did arise, causing the district to dip into bond funds, Robertson said. For instance, the district replaced all of Klein Cain High School’s baseball and softball lights following the Memorial Day storm in 2015, which cost $1.4 million.

“These were those surprises that inevitably come to you when you’re in a multi-year project,” Robertson said. “Our biggest non-programmed construction project was thanks to Hurricane Harvey at Lemm Elementary, which got 6 to 8 inches of water.”

Rather than restore the school to its preflood condition, the district updated the interior of the aging school and made renovations, he said.

In other news, the board of trustees approved several items on the agenda, including the approval of the project initiation for the Klein Oak High School auditorium and dance addition and approval of request for a class size waiver exception from the Texas Education Agency.

A district must submit a request for a class-size exception for any classrooms in kindergarten-fourth grade that exceed the 22-student class size limit, according to the TEA.

The board also recommended changing the fiscal year start date from Sept. 1 to July 1, effective 2020. The advantages of changing the fiscal year include campus budgets being available for when teachers and staff return from summer break and moving the budget adoption to the summer months when school is not in session, the board said.

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Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.
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