Savings on two elementary schools will allow Jacksonville ISD to consider additional campus improvements.
The district expects to spend $500,000 to $600,000 less than it projected on construction of new Joe Wright and East Side elementary schools, Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell said.
On Monday, trustees approved a guaranteed maximum price of $13,945,628 for East Side and a guaranteed maximum price of $16,539,458 for Joe Wright.
The decision came after the district received 733 bids from 413 subcontractors, according to a news release.
“The biggest portion of the bond election are these two projects,” Wardell said. “What we had hoped all along was we’d be able to do more classrooms.”
The nearly $50 million bond, which voters approved in November, also includes a new cafeteria, additional classrooms and an expanded library for Fred Douglass Elementary School as well as a new cafeteria and cafeteria building, an academic wing with eight science labs and hallways to connect to the main building at Jacksonville High School.
Wardell said the district will get bids on projects such as the new science labs and new cafeteria at the high school and the new cafeteria and renovated library at Fred Douglass.
It also will get bids on possible projects that weren’t originally part of the bond, he said, including a new gym for Fred Douglass and two life skills classrooms and a food service lab classroom at the high school.
Wardell has said a new gymnasium would provide opportunities for students to have additional access to physical education. Fred Douglass currently has an activity building, but it is small with limited space.
“They’re things that are really needed so we’re going to look at bidding those as part of the project,” he said.
In the end, Jacksonville ISD will assess its finances to determine what and if additional projects are done.
McKinney-based Pogue Construction, the construction manager at-risk for the bond projects, expects construction on Joe Wright and East Side to begin in about three weeks.
Wardell said groundbreaking dates have not been set, but he is already hearing excitement about the progress of the projects.
“People are saying it’s great we got (the guaranteed maximum prices) approved,” he said. There’s been “a lot of positive comments about the progression taking place. I think it’ll be an exciting time when people see the dirt work start.”
School Board President James Houser echoed Wardell in a previous interview, saying “We’re just real excited and happy. We’re excited (about the future).”