Hamshire-Fannett ISD inaugurates $36.9 million bond project

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Work begins on $36.92 million bond projects for Hamshire-Fannett ISD.

School district administrators, board members, faculty, staff and students came together Monday to launch a project that will serve HFISD students for years to come.

In 2020, voters passed a $36.92 million bond to modernize the district’s aging open high school campus.

“It’s a special day,” said school board chairman Chad Blanchard. “There’s a bit of sadness sometimes, I guess, because there’s a lot of memories here at school for a lot of people in the community, as well as a lot of the board members who sit here. .”

But Blanchard, who graduated from the school in 1990, said new memories would be made at the renovated campus, including the grand opening itself.

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“I’m proud to say that this has been in the works (for) a long time,” he said. “When I was going to school here, the buildings were kind of outdated. It’s a big problem in our community to pass a link. We’re just a very small community and it takes a lot of money to spend the kind of money we need to do the things this campus (needs).”

The process began in 2019 and was initially driven by security concerns.

“There are probably nine different structures (on campus),” HFISD Superintendent Dwaine Augustine told The Enterprise. “The safest environment is to have everyone under one roof, so to speak. That’s how the initial conversation started.”

Augustine also said the campus buildings were built in the 1950s and are now “significantly aged”.

“Given the security concerns, aging, the board felt they needed a needs assessment,” he said. “It started with the needs assessment, from those discussions what we found out is, yes, we have aging issues and there are certain things that we need to take care of. That’s when where the board decided to ask for bail.”

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The $36.92 million was one of two proposals on the ballot in 2020. The other was a $1.48 million proposal for a new football franchise, which ultimately fell through that year. .

Voters passed the $1.48 million bond in 2021.

The high school’s extensive additions and renovations project includes the demolition of six free-standing buildings on campus.

“We’re going to replace the entire square footage of these six freestanding structures and connect everything,” Augustine said. “So we will still have older parts of the building, but we will also have a lot of new spaces.”

Currently, covered outdoor walkways connect each building. Augustine said that once construction is complete, virtually all of these covered exterior walkways will be an interior hallway.

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“It’s completely enclosed – the safest school you can find,” he said.

While Monday’s rally was the official celebration of the start of construction, some construction work has already begun.

The gymnasium – one of the buildings built in the 1950s – is being gutted, with glass panes removed and older, decaying wood visible to passers-by.

In his remarks before the groundbreaking, Augustin thanked the current students who must and will continue to deal with the ongoing construction for the time being.

“Our children will go through some growing pains, as you can see, over the next year because that’s going to be an inconvenience,” he said. “But they’ve been soldiers so far and you know, just like kids always do at HF, they pull through.”

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There will be little disruption in some classrooms during construction, Augustine said.

“We have laptops and so these classes will be there until our current library is renovated,” he said. “We have about seven classrooms that are going to make up this old space. It will be done this summer and then we can take our laptops, move them around these spaces. So that would be minimal disruption.”

Although various types of projects across the country are being delayed or canceled due to rising labor and material costs and some supply shortages, Augustine said the district already has contracts in place. place and that rising costs were not of such concern to them.

“We have already faced escalating costs,” he said. “Right now, the project that’s going to happen here, we know that’s going to happen.”

Once construction is complete, Augustine said students will have better opportunities, especially in the new career and technical education building on campus.

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“We’re going to have programs in this space that could be done in ways that we can’t execute now,” he said. “We will have improved, for example, welding facilities that we do not currently have. We will have improved construction facilities that we do not currently have.”

Augustine said the building will provide space for programs that didn’t have space before, such as health sciences and robotics.

“It’s exciting,” Augustine said. “It gives the community what they’ve been asking for and as long as you can do it, it’s exciting. What we know is that once it’s done, kids are going to enjoy it and it will enhance the learning that will continue.”

Augustine said the project is expected to be completed by July 31, 2023.

“It’s a great day to be a Longhorn,” Blanchard said.

RELATED: Photos of the first sod

olivia.malick@hearst.com

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