Facility Advisory Committee Recommends School Improvements
School Board preparing to move forward
Published Feb. 16, 2012 @ 4:32 p.m.
Post ISD School Board met on February 9 to hear a report from the Facility Advisory Committee. The committee was appointed by the school board to assess Post ISD facilities and make recommendations for future improvements.
Members of the committee are: Ted Thomas (Chairman), Rene Armendariz, Staci Bell, Mike Colvin, Kerry Dixon, Ronnie Dunn, Ken Finch, Joe Giddens, Thressa Harp, Bo Jackson, Clarice Johnson, Ralynn Kirkpatrick, Roxanne Osborne, Jason Porter, David Quintana and Delbert Rudd.
Thomas began with this overview of the committee’s preparation and activities: “Our committee has met on five occasions in the past few months. We began the process with a discussion of school finance and the tax structure including the two sides of the tax rate, Maintenance & Operation and Interest and Sinking. At the first meeting we [the committee] also compared the current tax rate with other tax rates of surrounding districts.
During each of the three subsequent meetings we [the committee] toured our [Post ISD] facilities and have arrived at a consensus on some issues we feel need addressing.”
The committee’s unanimous recommendations were designated as “priority 1,” issues that should be addressed first and “priority 2,” issues that do not need immediate attention.
Priority 1 issues according to the Facility Advisory Committee findings are:
- A new facility to house the High School and move the Middle School students to the existing High School building with limited renovation.
- A Maintenance & Transportation barn to secure district resources and provide workspace for employees.
- Replace the existing athletic track.
- Complete the replacement of the existing High School and Elementary School roof
Priority 2 issues are:
- Demolish the existing Middle School building.
- Construct new athletic dressing, concession area and restrooms at the existing football stadium.
The committee closed their report with this statement: “We realize after reviewing the financial information, we will not be able to accomplish these improvements through our M&O budget, therefore we recommend the Post ISD Board of Trustees consider a Bond Program." Thomas also reported that the committee would favor having a Bond Program on the ballot in May, 2012.
After Thomas’ summary of the committee’s findings, School Board President Mike Holly thanked the committee for their work and opened discussion of the report by calling for any questions from School Board members.
Board member Alexa Collier asked the committee to explain why they were recommending demolition of the Middle School building. “The building is a safety issue,” said committee member Ronnie Dunn. “We consider it a liability to the school district.”
Joe Giddens further explained that demolition of the MS building would be necessary to free up space for future expansion. "The Middle School would have to be removed to make room for the construction of new athletic dressing, concession area and restrooms at the existing football stadium.” Supt. Comeaux added that an architect would have to look at these kinds of issues.
Regarding the demolition of the Middle School, Holly reminded the group, “This is not a new idea. It was part of a facility review by the School Board in 2003. Now we are in agreement that we need to do something for our community and for our school.” Holly added, “There should be a lot of consideration before a building is torn down because of the historic value of the building.”
Supt. Comeaux explained that a portion of the façade of the MS building could be preserved or "some of the stone could be used to build something else as a way of preserving a part of the historic building." According to information in the documentation for the Texas Historical Marker placed at the building in 1968 ( www.thc.state.tx.us) the structure was built in 1928 and funded with a bond project.
“I don’t like the idea of tearing things down,” said Board member Drew Kirkpatrick. “But as far as going into the future, we need to do things right. The idea of having a track inside the stadium excites me.”
Committee member Jason Porter stated that he believed Post ISD was “30 plus years behind on our educational facilities.” He also said that “getting this on the May election is important. If we can’t get it done, we can’t get it done, but we [the committee] would like to try.”
Board member Collier questioned whether a bond issue could be on the ballot by May, 2012 rather than in November, 2012. “That is not much time to do all that is necessary. We don’t want to get in such a big hurry that we don’t do all we need to do. We want this to be the very best it can be, if we do it.”
Supt. Comeaux stressed the importance of not settling for a “cookie cutter” project. “We want a school for our community. One that defines what we want as a school district.” Comeaux also emphasized moving forward with a “clear” plan. “Let’s keep going in the direction we have been going. When it’s ready, it’s ready.” He also reminded the group that the final decision will be up to the community. "We need to do our part and then let the community decide."
The School Board voted unanimously to accept the Facility Advisory Committee recommendations as presented. The board also authorized the superintendent to issue “RFQ” (request for qualifications) from architectural firms. Responses will be presented to the board at their regular meeting February 16. "This initial step will in no way commit Post ISD to any future building or remodel projects, Comeaux said.
Holly closed the meeting by expressing appreciation for the work of the committee. “I didn’t expect this level of interest and commitment. Thank you.”