Gainesville ISD School Board Calls Bond Election
At a special-called board meeting and workshop on August 11, the Gainesville ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to call a school bond election for November. The bond proposal is for a new Gainesville Middle School, which would serve students in grades 6-8 and replace the existing Gainesville Junior High School building.
The school board’s vote comes after a recommendation made in July by the district’s Facilities Steering Committee to build a new middle school on the same site as the current Gainesville Junior High, a building constructed more than 60 years ago. This location allows GISD to maintain the historical neighborhood location, allowing many students to walk or ride bikes to school and have convenient access to before and after school activities.
The Facilities Steering Committee began meeting in the fall of 2019 after a facility assessment revealed that many components and areas of Gainesville Junior High have reached or surpassed their useful life, and following a demographic report that showed several active housing developments in Gainesville ISD bringing current and future student growth. Based on this information and a number of other factors, the Committee developed a recommendation for a new middle school that would accommodate 850 students, include spaces for modern learning environments, career and technical education, special programs, fine arts, physical education, and core areas like a library, cafeteria and kitchen, and administrative offices.
Following voter approval on the bond referendum, the district would work with an architect to design the school with input from staff, students, and community members. GISD could begin construction as early as the summer of 2022. By constructing the new school on the existing junior high campus, the building would be completed in two phases, with the first phase tentatively scheduled for completion in the summer of 2023. The second phase could be complete in the summer of 2024, with the ability to expand to accommodate future growth.
The total bond package is $70 million, which includes the construction cost for the new school, enhanced safety and security features, a storm shelter, all permits, fees, and soft costs, as well as new furniture, fixtures and equipment for the new school. That amount also includes contingency funds to help the district adapt to changing material, construction, and labor costs. With voter approval, the GISD total tax rate would change from $1.1016 to $1.3791 per $100 of property valuation.
Residents are encouraged to visit the district’s website and attend community presentations to learn more about the GISD bond election. Informational presentations will be scheduled and announced soon. Click here to see Facilities Steering Committee meeting presentations.
Anyone who resides in Gainesville ISD – and is a registered voter – is eligible to cast a ballot in the November bond election. Anyone not currently registered can find voter registration applications at many government buildings, inside GISD schools, and online at the Secretary of State’s website. To vote in the November bond election, voters must be registered by October 4. Early voting begins October 18 and runs through October 29. Election Day is Tuesday, November 2.