TUSCOLA, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As the years go by, families seem to move further out of the cities and into more suburban and rural areas, allowing their children to enter into smaller districts much like Jim Ned CISD in Tuscola, but many districts like these just don’t have the space to accommodate those growing numbers. In November, it will be up to the voters to take on another multi-million dollar bond.
Jim Ned CISD told KTAB/KRBC it’s starting to feel the impact of all its new pupils. In 2020, a bond passed through voters, creating a new intermediate school. As of late, Superintendent Dr. Glen Teal said the hallways at the high school are looking a bit crowded now.
“We are out of space at the high school, and we knew this was coming. We’re at capacity this year and utilizing about five portable buildings,” said Dr.Teal.
Currently reporting a high school student body of 464 students, the district said enrollment has increased over the last several years.
“Over the past five years, our school district has grown on average well over 5%, and with that growth, we have had to accommodate that in our facilities,” Dr. Teal shared.
This past august, Jim Ned CISD debuted a new intermediate school to alleviate space at the elementary schools.
“We have amplified space at both of the elementaries, and then also our intermediate, and also our middle school where we pulled sixth grade into the intermediate,” explained Dr. Teal.
Even still, the district needs more room to accommodate future students. To do this, the school board proposed a $28 million bond to add more classrooms at the high school, a new show and animal barn, and more.
“We’re going to bring in a new entrance to improve safety and security in that area, so the new high school will have a total new look,” Dr. Teal continued.
The 2023 bond also includes items voters saw in the 2020 bond due to an increase in material costs.
“We had to focus on the intermediate school that was projected to cost $15-and-a-half million, and it ended up costing us right around $20 million,” revealed Dr. Teal. “So, that gobbled up funds for expansion of the high school and gobbled up funds for other facilities like the CTE (Career and Technical Education) facility.”
But what does that mean for the taxpayers? Well, Dr. Teal has some projections:
“A home that is valued at $150,000 out here, they’re going to see about a $50 increase on their annual taxes, and of course, it goes up from there,” Dr. Teal explained.
If approved, Jim Ned CISD said these buildings are built to last. A town hall to discuss the bond will be held Sunday, October 15 at 3:00 p.m. at the new intermediate school – 4350 Highway 83. Early voting begins Monday, October 23 at the Jim Ned admin building – 441 Graham Street.
“On behalf of the Jim Ned CISD Board of Trustees & administration, we want to let our Jim Ned community know about the vision being cast as we look ahead at facility needs in the district as we continue to accommodate our growth in enrollment. The board has been developing this vision of our facility needs since March 2023 in a variety of board meetings & strategic planning sessions with our administrators & current partners in Jacob-Martin Architecture & Engineering firm as well as Collier Construction.
As a reminder to our community, the 2020 Bond of approximately $34 million dollars included 2 propositions: a) Proposition A included about $26 million & included the new 4th-6th Grade Intermediate School along with several other smaller projects. Of the smaller projects, due to serious cost escalation after the pandemic, we were only able to afford the MS classroom additions & MS Cafeteria. That, coupled with the new Intermediate consumed almost all of the $26 million dedicated to Prop A. b) Proposition B was $7.8 million towards a new Auditorium & we want our JN community to know that we still have that money. We chose not to sell the $7.8 million in bonds since we knew we could not build an 850 seat auditorium for $7.8 million in today’s commercial construction market. But we do still plan to build an auditorium using the $7.8 million & then add $4.8 million in 2023 Bond Funds in Proposition B. With the community’s additional support, we will finally get our Auditorium built as planned.
- Early Voting: Monday, October 23rd – Friday, November 3rd) @ the Jim Ned CISD Administration Building located at 441 Graham Street in Tuscola.
- Election Day: Tuesday, November 7th @ the Tuscola Community Center located at 1202 Turner Lane.
Below represents a culmination of months of meetings & several discussions about various facilities needs in Jim Ned. Mainly, thanks to the 2020 bond, our next relief valve that we anticipated for our ever-increasing enrollment is our High School. Current cost projections are included below for a total of $28 million forecasted for the 2023 Bond:
- As mentioned above, relief at both elementary schools & the middle school has arrived in the form of Jim Ned Intermediate (4th-6th grade) on Hwy 83! This campus opened in August 2023 & has generated space at the 3 campuses mentioned above. For several years, we should have adequate space at the new Intermediate;
- High School North Academic Addition. As we predicted, our biggest need right now is accommodating students & staff at our growing High School. The board plans to add 12 new classrooms, including 2 new science labs & a new Life Skills room for HS students, at a projected cost of $6,260,738;
- Fine Arts: Auditorium = $4,862,217 (to be added to the $7.8 we still have from unspent 2020 Prop B bond funds).
- Career Technical Education (CTE). Our community will remember approving this project in the 2020 bond. However, we had to cull this project due to the inflation in the construction market. A 10,000sf facility in today’s dollars will cost about $5,384,016 & will house HS Ag Classes & other courses yet to be determined. The existing Ag building will then house Middle School CTE/Ag classes, focusing on woodworking.
- Ag Education: New Show Barn & Animal Barn = $1,000,000.
- Renovate & upgrade our Family & Consumer Science Classroom (formerly Home Economics back in the day) = $500,000
- Interior Hallway Improvements at JNHS = $1,008,776;
- HS Cafeteria Renovation = $600,000;
- Existing Restroom Renovations for All Restrooms at JNHS = $488,786
- Locker Room Addition (this project was also in the 2020 bond but was culled due to inflation) = $2.332,679;
- Campus Parking Lot Circulation Improvements = $1,462,562;
- New JNHS Entrance/Updated Elevations = $1,134,648;
- Parking Lot Expansion = $356,702
- Middle School: Parking Lot Improvements = $500,000
- Support Facilities: a) Demo Current Bus Barn & Show Barn = $217,229; b) Paving at Demo Site = $245,216; c) Build New Bus Barn,Office, Wash Bays, & Fueling Station on 10 acres near softball field = $1,000,000.
- Intermediate School – Locker Room Addition: When the Intermediate School was being designed, we had to cut the Locker Rooms for 6th grade Pre-Athletics due to cost escalation in that building. The board sees a significant need to add Locker Rooms for our students to more fully utilize this facility = $1,000,000.
The total costs of both propositions is $28,342, 491. Our current bonding capacity is much higher than this, but the board only desired to meet our needs & max out our tax rate. We know our community will appreciate that.
As always, we are open to feedback & questions from our Jim Ned community. We have a Town Hall in the works for Tuesday, September 12th (time/location TBD). In the meantime, please pass along your feedback & questions to any board member, our superintendent, or an administrator so we are aware of your input.
We will keep our community posted all along the way &, as always, we greatly appreciate your support of our Jim Ned students & staff! Roll Tribe!”