Stephenville ISD Superintendent Matt Underwood sat down with the E-T to talk about the next steps after the board of trustees approved an order to call a bond election for $60,810,000 in district improvements.
“The next step is to put out an informational one-page flyer and that’s what we’re working on, and we actually made some changes to the financial piece,” Underwood said. “Our new tax number is 10.8 cents impact and will be the total increase.”
Underwood said they are also working on a brochure that will go out in about a month to give details on the tax rate and square-footage.
Another financial factor is that the district will have accumulated $5 million in funds by the time the construction phase begins.
“That money could be used to offset the cost, or it could be used to lower the tax rate,” Underwood said. “So the board could use that money to soften the tax rate.”
There will be some floor plans that will be shown to the public, but at this time Underwood said there will not be external renderings.
“Architect firms will only go so far. They want to make sure your board approves the measure before they take another step and then they want to make sure the voters approve before they do another step, so information will come out in pieces,” he said. “But we are going to show some floor plans and there will be different colors for construction and renovation. There will be a conceptual idea of what we’ve been talking about.”
With some of the large renovations like the gym, auditorium and ag facilities as well as the addition of security that will extend the front of the building, Underwood is confident there is enough parking space at the high school.
“My issue was parking. You don’t want to give up parking and through some of the design talk with the committee, architects said we’re going to gain some parking by straightening the parking spots,” he said. “Angled parking takes up a lot more space. We are even going to do some additional parking around the side, back and then obviously by the ag area, so there’s going to be more flow than there is now.”
Underwood said many have asked why the district doesn’t just build a new high school.
“The costs are majorly prohibitive. It would cross the $100 million mark and so as a whole you’d be looking at $150 million for the whole district,” he said. “Another hurdle would be if you were to go for the new high school and build off-site, you’d have to buy some land and that would be an added expense, but the big question is what do you do with that building?”
Underwood said he understands that $60 million is a lot of money.
“I think $60 million is probably a pretty good deal for 1,100 kids and it’s a renovation so you save some money,” he said.