After six months of study, the community bond committee gave Trustees its final report and recommendations on January 11. The committee consisted of 61 members (more started the facilities evaluation in December 2019 before the COVID school closures and all were invited to resume the process in July 2021). The committee’s charge included three specific actions:
- Review the Facilities Assessment Study regarding physical condition and other assessments of all current facilities
- Consider options for existing, renovated and/or new facilities; implications of projected enrollment; anticipated instructional programs; technology; operations; and cost
- Develop and present to the Board of Trustees a facilities and recommendations for a future bond election will serve the District as a baseline for the next five years.
Over the six months, the committee held eight meetings, two community meetings, and two deep-dive work sessions. It is estimated the members of the bond committee invested between 40-90 each on this work.
The committee’s guiding principles were: the academic needs of students must come first; facilities that promote academic success are priorities; as are those in the worst physical condition (over-capacity or aging or both); utilize existing buildings efficiently while planning for the future.
Of ECISD’s 60 facilities, half (31) are more than 60 years old. A demographic study projects growth in the coming years with ECISD potentially topping 35,700 students by 2028. The Facility Assessment Study evaluated all aspects (mechanical, electrical, plumbing and much more) of every building in ECISD. The study scaled the needs as Priority 1 (needs to be addressed in 1-2 years), Priority 2 (should be addressed in the next 3-5 years), Priority 3 (6-10 years), and Priority 4 (11 or more years out). It identified more than $175 million in Priority 1 and Priority 2 repairs, maintenance and needs.
The committee also heard presentations from ECISD department leaders and considered those needs as well. Departments like athletics, fine arts, career and technical education, technology, transportation and others.
Architectural firm PBK, the company that performed the Facilities Assessment Study, led the committee through a study of current costs for school construction including standard student enrollment and acreage guidelines.
The committee also gave considerable attention to a community survey, conducted by the District, that polled 1,000 Ector County voters on a variety of school district topics, potential bond projects, and the tax implication of several different bond amounts. See the full presentation here.
As the conclusion of its current work, the Community Bond Committee recommended that Trustees prioritize: Priority 1 and Priority 2 repairs and maintenance needs ($175 million – note: Priority 1 is slightly more than $52 million); future growth and campus safety by building a new comprehensive high school ($183 million); expand job training and career education with a state-of-the-art Career & Technical Education Center ($70 million); and replace/improve technology across the District ($33 million). Based on survey feedback, the committee recommends the Board should review these recommendations and build a bond proposal that will be less than $400 million dollars, and Trustees should look to hold a bond election on May 7, 2022.