Jacksonville ISD nearing completion of projects
Jacksonville ISD is nearing completion on its bond projects.
The nearly $50 million bond package, which voters approved in November 2010, includes new Joe Wright and East Side elementary schools, a new cafeteria, additional classrooms and an expanded library for Fred Douglass Elementary School as well as a new cafeteria and cafeteria building and an academic wing with eight science labs at Jacksonville High School.
Both new elementary schools opened in August with a gymnasium and an estimated 36 classrooms each -- enough space to house between 700 and 750 students.
Joe Wright, at the corner of U.S. Highway 175 and Pineda Street, is a split-level campus with core facilities, a stair tower and classrooms for prekindergarten, kindergarten and first-graders at street level.
There are stairs leading down to more classrooms, and windows in the school commons look down on a hillside. The cafeteria is likely at least three times bigger than it was at the old Joe Wright campus, Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell has said.
East Side, which was built on Fort Worth Street, is identical to Joe Wright as far as classroom space, but has a little less square footage because it is one story.
Joe Wright is more than 85,000 square feet and cost about $16.5 million, and East Side is about 85,000 square feet and cost less than $14 million.
The East Side campus includes the nurse's office, the principal's office, a life skills classroom and conference rooms.
"Everything has gone great with construction at East Side and Joe Wright. Both are functioning very well, and everyone's been well-pleased with the product there," Wardell said.
At Fred Douglass, the district fed box lunches to students while construction was going on for the new cafeteria.
But now Wardell said renovations there are basically complete.
He said students are using every part of Fred Douglass, where the district added a cafeteria, expanded the library, and took the old cafeteria and made it into classrooms.
At the high school, the district also provided box lunches because of construction.
Wardell said students have since moved into the new cafeteria, and more than 900 students were served on the first day that the cafeteria opened.
The projects there are "going well. They have torn out the inside of the old cafeteria and are renovating it into a band hall, and we have eight science labs under construction, (and) the hallway (that will connect the buildings will be built)," he said.
The district's goal is to get all of the high school projects complete by Christmas.