The first phase of reconstruction at New Braunfels High School is underway. Without voter approval of a 2024 bond, the district will be unable to complete the final phase of the project.

Bond 2024 is just the second half of a new campus for us,” NBHS Principal Greg Hughes said. “It finishes that out, instead of us having basically half of a new school building.”

The new school will accommodate for growth.

“The end product in my opinion will be a beautiful new campus. ... It’s going to be a state-of-the-art facility that’s in my mind worthy of New Braunfels ISD,” NBISD Superintendent Laurelyn Arterbury said.

How we got here

In November of 2021, NBISD voters approved two of three bond propositions, resulting in $327.9 million to fund projects to address growth, aging facilities and technology throughout the district. Phase 1 of the NBHS reconstruction was funded through the bond and is currently underway.

“The board back in 2021, when they elected to go out for that 2021 bond program, believed that putting the entire [New Braunfels] High School package on that bond program was going to be way too much for voters to vote on,” NBISD Chief Financial Officer Paul McLarty said. “So they decided to put it into two phases.”

NBISD voters will see a new $313 million bond on the ballot during the May uniform election. According to the district, the bond would not lead to an increase in the tax rate. If passed, Proposition A on the bond would allocate $226.8 million toward Phase 2 of reconstruction at NBHS.

“The 2024 bond program ... would be the completion of Phase 2, finishing up New Braunfels High School. That’s really the main piece of that entire bond,” McLarty said.

Put in perspective

The original NBHS campus opened for the first time in 1964. Since opening, the campus has undergone multiple expansions and renovations.

“There’s a long, rich history in this district, and I believe that New Braunfels High School has served many, many generations over the years,” Arterbury said.

If the five-year-long project is completed on schedule, the new campus is anticipated to be finished by Fall 2028.

Zooming in

Phase 2 of construction would consist of multiple stages of tearing down a section of the existing NBHS building and reconstructing it, according to district officials.

“We’ll be tearing down something, rebuilding it, moving students in, and we’ll go to the next area [and] tear that down,” McLarty said.

By splitting the reconstruction project into two phases on the same property as the existing campus, the overall construction timeline is longer, and the cost of the new school is more expensive. The additional cost to Phase 2 is $7.5 million, according to McLarty.

Arterbury said that with the opening of the district’s second high school, Long Creek High School in August 2024, the district wanted to provide an equitable learning experience throughout the district.

“There are just so many parts of our building that are aged, and we’re having to spend money on maintenance costs, repair costs,” Hughes said. “And it was just time to have a new building to be able to operate out of.”

The framework

The updated high school will have around 1,000 parking spaces, nearly double the current amount.

The modernized interior will also feature an open concept with high ceilings, and a comprehensive layout with student spaces closer together than the existing building, according to Hughes.

Additionally, the new campus will have the ability to hold more students. District officials had previously anticipated the current campus will reach capacity in 2024.

“When it will be done, at least 2,200 to 2,400 students will be able to be housed there, and it’ll be a beautiful facility that’ll last another 50-plus years,” McLarty said. “In the meantime, there will be a lot of mess students will have to deal with.”
This rendering shows the design of the new high school building's cafeteria. (Courtesy NBISD)Caption

What’s next?

Arterbury said safety will be a key priority.

“It’s just making sure that we partition off where construction is occurring and then where instruction is occurring,” Arterbury said.

If Proposition A of the 2024 bond is not passed, McLarty said the district would continue to operate out of the current facility until they are able to get the project approved by voters in the future.

“To be able to possibly rebuild [NBHS], and to get future generations to be educated in there, it’s exciting,” Arterbury said. “We’re looking forward to the voters decision on May 4, so that we know which direction the district will go.”

To learn more about NBISD’s May bond, click here.