Gainesville to Vote on School Bond

11-3-05 – Gainesville school administrators say their campus needs a $29.5 million facelift, but before residents write it off as another property tax increase, educators want people to know that the important details are different this time.

Gainesville High School has a history of championships, not only in athletics, but academics. Students won the top UIL district awards for the past six years, but administrators say in order to continue a program of excellence students need a new high school. Portable classrooms crowd the back of the school property; one reason why the district is proposing a school bond. $24.5 million would cover the cost of a new building, where land has already been purchased along I-35. The 178,000 sq. ft. building would include 26 classrooms, six computer labs, seven science labs, and technology, career and fine arts centers. Another $5 million would renovate the current 1959 high school building, to make way for the junior high.

“There is a strong correlation between facilities improvements and academic learning,” says Charles Luke, Superintendent for Gainesville ISD.

Voters rejected two school bonds over the past two years. Administrators believe the components of those bonds that designated money for athletics facilities are what turned voters off. With the current school bond, the only provision for athletics is a gymnasium built with the new school. That cost would only be 0.5% of the total bond.

“We're trying to do things to beef up our academics. Do things to help our school stay competitive academically, with others around the state for the coming century,” says Luke.

Early voting for bond election begins Wednesday. Regular voting is November 19. Below is a list of where and when to vote:

Wednesday, Nov. 2
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Various Locations

Thursday, Nov. 3
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Gainesville High School
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Chalmers Elementary School

Friday, Nov. 4
6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Leeper Stadium (Gainesville High School)

Monday, Nov. 7
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Edison Elementary School

Tuesday, Nov. 15
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Gainesville Junior High School
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Lee Intermediate School

Saturday, Nov. 19 (regular voting)
7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Gainesville Junior High School