KLTV 7 Tours TISD Schools Listed In Bond For Replacement

Smith County residents will now have two bond proposals to vote on come November.

Joining the new jail package will be Tyler ISD's bond proposal. The proposed $124.8 million dollar bond is the second phase in TISD's master plan. This phase continues the work on the needs of the elementary campuses.

Senator Kevin Eltife and Mayor Joey Seeber worked with TISD and showed their support Tuesday morning.

"We said at the time it would be a phased approach, and if the district brought those schools in on time and under budget we would be here to support Phase 2. And so Mayor Seeber and myself are forming the Vote Yes committee. We want to go educate the voters and hopefully earn their trust and support of this bond package," said Sen. Kevin Eltife.

"I think we have earned the voters trust the last time around. We built some beautiful schools, on time and under budget and it's time to do phase 2," said former mayor of Tyler, Joey Seeber.

With this bond proposal, 6 campuses would be replaced.

Those schools included in this bond, on average, were built 44 years ago, and TISD says the conditions are not condusive to learning. And there are access, safety, storage, and effeciency issues that need to be addressed.

Today, KLTV 7's Danielle Capper took a tour of those campuses, and brings us this report.

The times have changed, but their buildings haven't.

"This building is split level."

TISD Facilities Director Tim Loper walks through the schools, describing the problems and explaining their effort to figure out what's best.

"What it is these buildings need to meet the programs we have in that building, to meet the building code and not only that to meet all the safety codes."

Using today's construction costs, a facility condition index, or FCI number, is calculated to see if the building is worth remodeling.

"The FCI number is 101 here at Jones," said Loper. "In other words it will cost us 101% to remodel and fix this old building up on this site than it would to build a brand new building."

All 6 schools in this bond package fall in the replacement category: Woods, Clarkston, Orr, Jones, Griffin and the St. Louis school.

"There are ineffeciencies in this building such as energy inefficiency. There are safety issues. There are classroom that open to open corridors," said Loper. "You may notice we have a netting attached to the bottom of all of the structure of the canopies and things."

That netting was put up at Jones Elementary a few years ago to fight a bat problem.

"What this does, it keeps the bats out of the classrooms. Bats coming in, getting in the decking and getting in the attic space," Loper described.

Other things the bond hopes to address: ground erosion, sand, and portable buildings.

"This campus has so many buildings away from the main, portable restroom purchase."

At Orr Elementary, 45% of their classrooms are in portables, some in the teacher's parking lot.

"As you can see it's a constant issue," said Loper.

But for bond supporters, hopefully not too constant, as they try to transform the old to new.

The district has already begun the planning phase, so if the bond proposal passes, construction will begin immediately. They tell us 3 of the schools - Jones, Griffin, and St. Louis will need to be relocated because of space.

Danielle Capper, reporting. dcapper@kltv.com