DENISON, TX-The plan for the new Denison High School has been in the works for years and just last year, the bond to fund the construction passed. But now, they're running into an expense they didn't budget for that could affect the safety of students, staff and parents.
State Highway 91 is a two-lane street and the new Denison High School will be built right on it. School officials tell me they are concerned about the traffic the new school will cause, that's why they need help from TxDOT to fund road changes because that's not covered by the $80 million school bond.
While traffic on Highway 91 in Denison may not be heavy now Denison ISD superintendent, Dr. Henry Scott said that'll change once the new high school opens August 2014.
"3:40 in the afternoon when school's out, and all these cars are driving and leaving at the same time. Safety is a major safety concern," he said.
That's why the school district partnered with the City of Denison to ask TxDOT for help fund road modifications on Highway 91 in front of the high school.
"That was not considered in the bond issue. Certainly the city and the school district both have an interest in this, but neither of us have the resources available to fund it," said Scott.
"They've already put together some plans and in those plans, it includes building a left turn lane and some right turn lanes to get traffic in and out of the campus safely," said TxDOT area engineer, David Selman.
He said the project will cost $500,000 that's why they have to review their budget to decide if they can help.
"We haven't formally made the decision. What we're doing is we're just saying 'please submit the request' and then we can officially submit the request, then we can look in our budget to see if we've got the money available to be able to help you," Selman said.
"You know funding is always an issue with any agency and TxDOT got funding issues just like school districts and cities," said Scott.
The City of Denison passed a resolution Monday on behalf of Denison ISD hoping to get the support they need from TxDOT for the road improvements.
"Our hope and our goal is to make sure that the road is safe, the same goal as TxDOT and DISD share. So our goal is to work together to get that done, so a resolution is a method whereby we can express our concern to TXDOT," said Denison City Manager, Robert Hanna.
Selman said if the funding is approved, they will be able to start construction April 2014. He said it can take up to a year before TxDOT approves the application.
Denison school officials said they'll adopt the resolution tomorrow night at the school board meeting.