AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A $10.4 million bond is giving a rural school district an opportunity to address some concerns with its buildings.
The community of Silverton voted to pass the bond Saturday, and now the school district can finally address multiple projects. A major focus point for the district is the safety of its elementary school.
Right now, all of the school's classrooms open directly to the outside. Students first go outdoors to get to the cafeteria, library and gymnasium. But the district's superintendent said the Texas Panhandle's weather patterns makes that fact an issue of concern.
"When there is any rain, snow or wind the elementary kids still have to go out in the weather," superintendent Michelle Francis said. "So were hoping to make the campus all under one roof."
The bond will cover 14 different projects that include upgrades to the schools science labs, new energy efficient windows, auditorium improvements, technology upgrades and secure entry ways. The school board is also considering linking the ISD's elementary and high schools.
"Our plan is to build a new cafeteria building," Francis said. "Then make the elementary in our existing cafeteria building."
Security is one of the primary goals for the school, especially for its elementary students.
"Every class room opens to the outside so some person could go into one of the elementary rooms and then go all the way down into one of the classrooms before we would realize," Francis said.
Francis adds they have not had any safety incidents putting the children at risk, but the school has had cases of parents not checking in and walking into the classrooms.
The school board also decided to add a new storm shelter the entire community will have access to.
"This storm shelter will be our home education classroom, but it will also be an above ground storm shelter and over 600 people can fit in it," Francis said. "It will be a plus for the community, they will have a place to come in case there are storms."
School officials expect construction to begin by next May.
The projects will be done in stages beginning first with the construction of a new cafeteria.
All the renovations are expected to be done within three years.