GISD 2014 Bond Still in Effect

Braedon Harris, Reporter

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In 2014, Garland ISD passed a $455.5 million bond to enhance student safety, upgrade district technology and improve facilities. The bond put in place five phases, each of which include at least six bid packages. Each bid package contains between one and seven projects at multiple locations.
“I think there have been several expectations for the 2014 bond,” principal Dr. Glenda Williams said. “They had some new projects that they wanted to implement. One was the CTE center, another was the Natatorium, and the third was updating some of the facilities and existing buildings.”
Phase zero upgraded or built new softball and baseball fields at each high school. This project took place from May to November 2015, and ensured all fields had lighting and concessions.
Phase one was much larger with plans to upgrade 13 high school, middle school and elementary school campuses. The objective for the majority of the schools was to add new band and choir sections. Other projects would include upgrading facilities at a handful of other locations . Anywhere from $1 million to $7 million was set aside to carry out these plans at all elementary and secondary schools. The largest project started was the Career and Technical Education Center, which is still in the construction phase. It is predicted to be finished around the start of the 2017-2018 school year. During this phase, the 2014 bond also funded the Ready 1:1 iPad rollout, which brought over 16,000 iPads to high schoolers.
One of the major projects included building a Natatorium, which was never started despite over $22 million being set aside for it.
“I think the [most influential] project will be the CTE center,” Williams said. “Once it opens in the fall, students will have the ability to take classes that they wouldn’t normally be able to take. It will really open up [opportunities] for students. They will be able to take what they are interested in taking and still go to the school they want to go to.”
Currently, aside from the construction of the new CTE facility, phase two is in place. Phase two is similar to the first in that one high school is being worked on, multiple elementary schools and a few middle schools. The budget for these packages are in the same range and are a continuation of band and choir additions. As of now, the planning and designing have already occurred. Construction is set to take place through fall of 2018.
Phase three and four follow the same pattern as the rest, with band and choir additions to the remaining schools. North Garland High School will be a part of these additions during phase four, which will not be finished until the 2019-2020 school year. Phase four is the last and cheapest phase aside from phase zero, costing about $57 million compared to phase two’s $132 million.
“I know here at North we are in the last phase, so we haven’t seen a lot,” Williams said. “[So far] we have gotten lights for the baseball fields and new turf on the football field, [which has] been good for the band and sports teams.”
The Dallas Morning News reported that over $20 million of additional work came from various administrative requests. These requests were not approved by the board and cut money from the budget. In addition, the contingency fund was reduced from 10 percent to 3 percent. Despite all of this, the bond will be restored back to just under the $455 million approved by voters, and the contingency fund will be brought back to 10 percent due to actions taken by the district.

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