HEREFORD, TX (KFDA) - The Hereford Independent School District is once again trying to pass a bond to fund school facility renovations. But this time, the district is focusing on educating the public about the bond to help it pass.
"Hereford ISD has great needs and we primarily have these needs because for over 42 years we have not had a bond in Hereford," said Hereford ISD Superintendent Sheri Blankenship. "We originally started out in 2015 trying to pass a bond. It was unsuccessful and so in 2017, we've taken another run at that and we are trying to do a better job at getting our information out there."
The largest portion of the $45 million bond would go toward an early childhood development center attached to Bluebonnet Elementary School. Over $17 million would fund the center that would serve over 300 pre-k students who currently go to the Stanton Learning Center. According to the district, this facility was meant to be a high school and does not meet the needs of the young children.
The second largest portion of funding would go toward multipurpose activity centers.
"Many people don't realize at our elementary campuses right now, we have what we call the cafetorium," said Blankenship. "A cafetorium is a large space used as a cafeteria, auditorium and a gymnasium all in one. That sounds great and at the time when the campuses were built, it worked. But now, we are at capacity in our buildings. That is not conducive to the physical education that is required."
Another $8 million would go toward making campuses safer by constructing visitor and student check-in entrances. With this money, there are also hopes to update each campus's fire alarms to meet today's standards.
The last $6 million would fund dressing rooms and other learning facilities, including the renovation of the Varsity Junior High School gymnasium.
"As we do work there, we are required to make the ADA compliance," said Blankenship. "So, in order to be ADA compliant we are looking to put in a lift in the varsity gymnasium so that our fans, parents and community members can sit in an actual fan area of seating. Right now, when they attend they have to sit on the gymnasium floor because we don't have the availability to get them to that level. We are still in compliance with the ADA because we have done no renovations to the building but as we do those renovations we have to bring that into compliance."
If passed, this funding would also go to facilities surrounding the varsity athletic field. There would be no changes to the field or structural changes to the stadium, but the field house facility would see renovations.
"All of our athletes benefit from the field house and the training facility that is connected to it," said Blankenship. "So, we would level that training facility and field house to better serve the students. Also, underneath the stadium, are the concession stands and bathroom facilities and we need to do major work in that area as well."
In February 2017, the school board included that this $45 million bond would take no more than a 20 year amortization.
Under this bond plan, the owner of a $100,000 house would owe $16.31 in additional taxes per month.
If you would like to learn more about this school bond, there will be a public meeting May 4 at the Hereford Community Center at 7 p.m.
You can also visit the Hereford ISD website.
Election day is May 6.