Site selected for Center ISD's new multi-purpose facility

Construction being made on elementary campus; construction at F.L.Moffett should start in early 2019

The Center ISD Board of Trustees took a big step in advancing the school district's proposed new 1,500 seat multi-purpose event center by approving a tentative site.

The performing arts and athletic gymnasium complex will be located on the northeast side of the Center High School main building, according to a motion made by board member Daphne LaRock and seconded by Allison Johnson. The Nov. 29 vote on the site location was unanimous with board member Deuce Wulf abstaining and John Holloway being absent.

The site would be on property where practice soccer fields are now located.

David Golden and Malcolm McKinley, with the Lufkin-based design firm of McKinley-Golden Architects, presented preliminary ideas for the multi-purpose event center. They provided the board with pros and cons of several site options.

McKinley and Golden provided sketches showing what the building could look like with entry on the ground floor and an elevator and multiple stairways leading up to a concourse. Tentatively included will be a stage, tiered seating for the 1,500 seating capacity gym with a full-sized court and a concourse surrounding the second floor of the structure, they said.

“There will be multiple discussions that have not occurred yet on this,” Golden said. “We have not set down yet with coaches or the athletic department.”

He the plans will be similar to facilities in Tatum and Rusk which the board members earlier said they liked.

McKinley said the free-standing structure would have an exterior color pallet to match or compliment the existing high school. Also included in the plans will be additional parking.

“It needs to look like it fits,” McKinley said. “It's a pretty massive facility so the location will be critical.”

Among the other site options considered was one which would have placed the multi-purpose facility in front of the existing high school close to Roughrider Drive and one which have placed it adjacent to the school's existing gym where a parking lot is located.

Among the obstacles planners saw if the multi-purpose was placed next to the existing gym would be using up existing parking places while not easily being able to provide more parking in close proximity. They said that site would also present drainage issues.

Superintendent Dr. James Hockenberry said using the approved site for the new multi-purpose facility would require an inter-local agreement with the city of Center which would allow the exchange of about eight acres or property between the city and the school district. He said the city owns the proposed site property while the school district has another nearby site of about the same acreage.

“We don't have the land but we feel confident we can work out details,” Hockenberry said. Center ISD Board President Matthew Mettauer said he liked the idea of placing the building on the proposed site.

“It's been billed as a community events center and needs to have a stand alone focus,” Mattauer said.

The board was also provided with an update on other aspects of the bond funded projects approved by district voters earlier this year. Hockenberry said the portion of driveway and parking lot work at Center Elementary School is in final stages.

“Unless something happens with the weather we're very optimistic we'll have all the concrete poured in the next two weeks,” he said. That complete project should be finished up by Jan. 11, 2019.

Hockenberry said due to rain there was about a month where almost no progress was made on the elementary school project.

The aim of that part of the project is to add more parking while easing the traffic flow along Roughrider Drive. About 75 new parking spaces will result at the elementary campus.

Among the upcoming portions of the bond projects will be renovation work at the F.L Moffett Primary campus and the letting of bids for the expansion of Moffett, he said. The plans include adding two new wings to the campus with an additional 30 classrooms added.

Construction on the Moffett campus could start as soon as right after the Christmas holiday, his report to the board said.

Bond Project and Budget Update

Presented at Nov. 29 Board meeting

The 2018-2019 overall budget was adopted on August 31, 2018, with a bond construction budget for the fiscal year of $12 million. $20.5 million dollars of bonds have been sold. Therefore, we can access another $8 million if necessary to cover construction costs for the 2018-2019 fiscal year if necessary.

To date, we have authorized the Center Elementary School (CES) Driveway and Expansion Project at a guaranteed maximum price of $645,006. We have also purchased 10.610 acres of land on Roughrider Drive. A house resides on the land. We are currently soliciting proposals for the purchase and its removal.

Center Elementary School Project (Phase A)

Construction started on Monday, September 24, 2018. A substantial amount of progress was made over the Thanksgiving holidays. We have made a new adjustment to the flow of traffic. It is much improved. We have lost approximately four weeks of work due to inclement weather. Our new target date for the concrete portion of the project to be complete is January 11, 2019.

F.L.Moffett Expansion Project (Phase B)

The F.L. Moffett Expansion Project has been issued. We expect proposals in the next two weeks. The proposals will need a review. We are hopeful that the construction phase can be approved at the December meeting and work can begin after the Christmas holidays.

Campus Safety and Security Upgrades and Improvements

Keyless and Biometric systems are being installed at CES. The completion date is unknown at this time. These measures will provide another level of safety and security plus fulfill the commitment of the bond program. Other campuses will see safety and security improvements as projects develop.

Hockenberry said the bond program projects are under budget and running slightly behind schedule due to weather delays.