Former Trustees Give Input to HPISD

Yesterday, former HPISD board members gathered for their annual meeting and there was one thing on everyone’s minds: facilities planning.

Attendees of recent meetings will be familiar with the possible changes to each of the districts’ campuses, but this meeting brought the opportunity for former members to give input. Of course, these changes depend upon a bond election in November.

“You didn’t know it, but by showing up here today, you’re now part of the focus group,” vice president Jim Hitzelberger said.

Much of the changes have to do with the possibility of removing the natatorium from HPHS and relocating it to another location in order to construct new classrooms and labs. Where to put the natatorium remains to be seen.

Yet the detailed list of possible updates also include moving the Seay Tennis Center to another part of campus, making intense renovations to parking, and overhauling each of the younger-level campuses to accommodate more growth.

Originally, the district was looking at a spring bond election. With it pushed back to November, the possible renovations will only be pushed further back.

But superintended Dawson Orr expressed his desire to keep the ball rolling much before that: he’s aiming for community meetings later this spring, and a proposal ready to present by May 1.

One proposition includes purchasing land from Northway Christian Church to construct a new elementary school — which could also be used as an alternate campus while Bradfield and University Park elementaries are torn down and reconstructed. But some former members expressed worry over the community’s sentimentality on that point.

“You can’t put a dollar on emotional value,” former board member Libba Massey said. “You don’t want this to fail because of that point.”

Coupled with that argument, taking the time to properly explore options at each campus was another major priority.

“Don’t put my district at risk by doing the short-term,” former member Mike Boone said. “I’d rather pay the taxes now than find out in 10 years we didn’t do it right.”

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