By DAVID MAY
GARNER – Several years in the making, Garner ISD will start seeing the fruits of its labor this week when construction on a $2.5 million capital improvement project gets under way.
On a sunny but chilly Saturday morning, school district officials, students, board members and project architects and contractors took part in a golden-shovel ceremony to commemorate the project.
District voters last May approved financing $2 million of the project, with the rest of the monies coming from accrued district savings that were placed into a special construction fund. That election followed one in the fall of 2011, which was defeated by two votes. However, it was discovered some ineligible votes were cast by people living just outside the district.
Project architects are BWA Architects of Dallas. Gallagher Construction, of Plano, is the general contractor. Officials said 29 Metroplex contractors will be used on the project, set for completion by the start of the 2013-14 school year in August. Two of the contractors are Maddox Construction and Bronco Roofing and Construction of Parker County.
GISD board President Michael Collins said the project will add space to help the district with its projected growth for the next 10-15 years, while also performing needed repairs to bring existing buildings up to current TEA standards.
He said improved security is another aspect of the project because it will create just one entry point to the school.
“We are out in the country and we need to be secure,” Collins said. “That is a big thing right now.”
Once the current school year ends, one of the district’s main buildings will be gutted and remodeled to add more classrooms as well as an art room and a second science lab/classroom for the district. Collins said about 12,000 square feet of new space will be added along with the improved security and other repairs, including resolving some drainage issues on the property’s east side.
“The board has been working hard,” Collins said. “Our project started over three years ago with a building assessment. How are our buildings doing? What are the things we need to do for them? In doing that, that was sort of the start.”
He said about $1 million in repairs and updates alone were identified, so he said the board decided to look at other needs and plan for some future growth.
“We thought if we were going to do that maybe we should combine some more stuff and look at what else we could do,” Collins said.
He credited GISD Superintendent Marion Ferguson for leading the board through the educational process in learning about bond programs and how they work and are financed.