Study: Tens of millions needed for school upgrades

Melissa Federspill

Staff writer

The deteriorating school buildings of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District will cost upwards of $70 million to repair, according to a recent facilities study performed by the Texas Association of School Boards.

The report also includes projected replacement costs for the educational facilities, which tops $100 million.

The study was presented by TASB facility consultant Gary Marek during the monthly board of trustees meeting on Monday, where a small discussion was roused about the possibility of a bond election.

Following the presentation, board president Javier Flores suggested that the district form a committee and involve the public to evaluate and make recommendations to the board on how to proceed – repair or replace the buildings.

“Safety is one of the things I am concerned about,” said Flores, “I think most of us attended school in these buildings and maybe even our parents or family members.”

Flores added that he is aware that some surrounding districts, including San Antonio Independent School District, recently passed a bond. UCISD Superintendent Hal Harrell commented that the district has one bond that will pay out in 2022, and another in 2025.

The UCISD campuses were evaluated in several categories, including site safety and security, educational adequacy, and support space. Additionally, the exterior of the buildings were evaluated on a set of criteria, such as roofing, site size, parking area, doors, walls, and topography and drainage. The interior areas evaluated were items such as lighting, flooring, accessibility compliance, drinking fountains, and ventilation.

For all the campuses, several items were consistent throughout. They need new heating and cooling units; security improvement, including redesigns of entrances and exits; new windows; and roofs.

The costs are in today’s dollars, said Marek, referring to the aging of the report, as projects take time to fund and get off the ground.

The report also evaluated the capacity rate of each of the campuses, all of which are inching towards 100 percent, except Batesville School and Crossroads Academy where capacity is at 23 and 43 percent, respectively.

All board members were present for the meeting, which featured board recognition of the Uvalde High School state qualifying wrestling team, and the student-athletes who were recognized as academic all-state honorees for football.

Other items discussed in the meeting, including the approval of the Robb campus turnaround plan, an update on the district’s booster club policies, and information on the college, career and military readiness program at Uvalde High School, will be featured in a future edition of the Uvalde Leader-News.



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