The Beckville ISD Board of Trustees received updates on a timeline for district construction projects approved by voters this past spring in a $17 million bond package.
Students could be in a new high school classroom space and athletes could be playing in a new gym at the start of the 2024-2025 school year. Construction on the gym could start next spring, while work on the high school would not start until the end of the current school year. Construction on both projects is expected to be ongoing throughout the 2023-24 school year.
Superintendent Devin Tate at the Sept. 12 meeting indicated interest is running high among residents on when they can see progress on a new competition gymnasium, new high school building and renovations on the district’s junior high school.
“How long will it be before we can go out for bids and get it rolling?” Tate asked representatives of the Longview firm of TD Architects. On hand for the construction updates were Troy Brown, architect, and Jackie Shephard, interior designer.
Tate said representatives of the firm had been visiting Beckville campuses earlier to assess the projects. Brown provided the board with an anticipated schedule.
“Basically we have gone through schematic design. We’re at the tail end of design development, and we’re starting with construction documents,” he said.
Brown estimated that phase will take about 14 or 15 weeks to complete.
“We are shooting for early 2023 to release (plans) for bids to start construction in earnest, at least on the gymnasium, in April,” Brown said. Construction on the high school building would not start until next summer at the end of the current school year.
The gym is the most complicated of the two projects, he said.
Brown take construction on the gym would take about 15 to 16 months, while work on the high school would take about 14 months to complete.
“That’s tentative based on material availability,” he said. If construction starts by late spring, then the new high school and gym could both be ready for the start of school for the 2024-2025 school year, Brown said.
“It is our focus and desire to have this ready for volleyball” for the start of the 2024-2025 school year, Brown said.
About half of the current parking lot north of the school complex will be lost as construction moves forward.
Board members asked questions about the parking lot situation and suggested work needed to start on that so that adequate parking is available for the 2023 fall football season. Brown said site work on expanding the parking area could be put out for bids and construction earlier to accommodate parking needs.
Shepherd said site work could start on expanding parking in April 2023.
Brown and Shepherd answered a variety of questions from board members on details on the gym and the high school.
“We are planning to replace the existing building that is between the cafeteria and the building, which was constructed eight or nine years ago,” Brown said of the new high school. The new space should provide multi-use classrooms which are more flexible to accommodate a new life skills area, new band suite, culinary arts, tech, film, yearbook and art space.
The gym is planned for public access and entry at the top of the interior with a concourse surrounding the playing court. Seating will go down from the concourse towards the court but will not allow direct access to the playing court, Brown said.
Current plans to have seating for 996 people in the new gym, they said.
In other business, Tate said the district once again received a top rating for its fiscal integrity. Charmaine Chappell said the district had a perfect score on the Texas Education Agency rating.
The board also approved changing the date of the October regular board meeting to Oct. 17 since the regularly scheduled Oct. 10 date will be when school is not in session.