As expected, the Alvin Independent School District (AISD) authorized the administration to produce a bond referendum to voters this November. The district continues to expand at about one thousand students each year, a number greater than the enrollment of one elementary school campus. Current elementary school designs used by the district accommodate 800 students.
The bond proposal as recommended is an all-inclusive proposition that totals $245 million. Additional district funds will be contributed to reduce the overall impact to tax payers. $28 million will be paid from maintenance and operations funding sources and $12.6 million from previously authorized bond funds. Total project costs are projected to be just upwards of $285 million. In a press release announcing the bond election, the district describes a maximum tax burden to taxpayers of 8.03 cents per $100 valuation, equating to a tax increase of $80.30 per $100,000 of taxable value.
Four new elementary schools will be funded as well as land for still another. Costs for the elementary schools range from a low $24.5 million to a high of $31.2 million. The additional land is projected at $2.3 million. A new Junior High is provided for at a cost of $42.2 million and land for another is included at $3.3 million. Land for a fourth High School is included at a cost of $10.5 million. Shadow Creek High School was funded by the district’s 2013 bond and is scheduled to begin operation in the 2016-2017 school year.
Other expenditures of note include a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center in Manvel at a cost of $45.3 million. The structure will replace the old Manvel JH which will be demolished and replaced with a new 135,000 square foot structure accommodating 800 students in various programs as driven by student interests and the job market. Expected areas of study include Veterinary Science, Health Science, Cosmetology, Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Construction Management, HVAC, Culinary Arts, Oil & Gas, Ag Welding, and Auto Tech/Auto Collision. Upgrades to the Alvin HS auditorium and stadium total nearly $19 million. A new transportation center will relieve the current facility that is over capacity and will require $8.1 million. And a new district stadium will require $41.4 million. The funds necessary for the land acquisition were provided for in the previous bond issue. The new stadium is contemplated for 10,000 seats and will be constructed of a masonry façade covering a concrete, steel, and aluminum structure. It will feature a two-story press box, a field house with community room, and a state of the art scoreboard and sound system. The district has not made public potential sites for the new stadium.
A Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was appointed by the School Board last January to study the districts “needs and timing for both new and renovated district facilities, infrastructure, and supporting assets to assure educational success.” The committee was comprised of not less than 50 “stakeholders from all sectors of AISD – parents, local business owners, civic leaders and AISD staff.” Among the groups parameters were to “prioritize accommodating increasing enrollment with new campuses, land purchase for future growth, CTE programs, renovating existing campuses and technology,” and that the “bond issue shall be fiscally conservative with understanding of continued growth, future long range needs and legislated tax caps.” All committee gatherings were open to the public who were invited to participate in the meetings. All presentations were posted online to the AISD website for community review.
Driving the need for increased infrastructure is fast-paced residential development, particularly in the far west side of the district. The CAC reported 799 annual closings of homes, 382 under construction, and 515 in current inventory. Additionally, there presently exists 1,146 vacant developed lots with a projected 15,132 future lots. They also reported an expected 1,297 possible multifamily housing units (apartments). Two new large master-planned communities are under construction that will carry on the growth as Shadow Creek Ranch nears maturity. Pamona is located in Manvel west of SH 288 and is accessed from CR 101. The development consists of 1,000 acres and is projected to include 2,100 single family homes and some multi-family projects. Model homes are just about available for use and construction is underway.
The Meridiana project is seeing model homes being made ready as well. Meridiana is a 2,700 acre master-planned community that will include property in both Manvel and Iowa Colony and reportedly will see more than 5,500 single family homes upon its completion. The primary entrance to the community will be in Iowa Colony off SH 288 near the current intersection with CR 56. A secondary major entrance will eventually be constructed in Manvel where McCoy intersects with SH 6. Myriad other smaller developments will add to the stress on district infrastructure that this bond election hopes to address.