NEW WAVERLY — The New Waverly Independent School District could see the creation of a new intermediate school, and add classrooms at the elementary and high schools, among a long list of other construction projects over the next few years.
“Knowing that growth was eventually going to get here, we knew that we were going to have to take a close look at facilities and maintenance,” NWISD Superintendent Dr. Darol Hail said.
Following the recommendation of a 15-person community committee, the rural school district chose to move forward with a $24.5 million bond package that district leaders say will have no new costs to taxpayers. Instead, voters will be asked to approve a measure that will essentially extend the district’s debt levy for up to 30 years.
New Waverly ISD voters haven’t approved a school construction bond in nearly two decades, with current bonds set to mature as early as 2027.
“Our board has kept the debt tax rate at 19 cents, which has given us the opportunity to make extra bond payments and save the taxpayers millions of dollars in interest payments,” Hail noted. “We believe that we can address the needs of the district and pay off the old bond at the same rate.”
The statewide average for debt rates is approximately 22 cents per $100 of property value.
WHAT WILL BE BUILT
A "yes" vote on the ballot would allow the district to generate $24.5 million from newly issued bonds.
Money from those taxes would help the district fund a new intermediate school, located adjacent to the district’s elementary school. The location will allow for a shared cafeteria and gymnasium between the two campuses.
“It’s a model that you see commonly on the secondary level,” Hail said. “The committee felt that it was an economical use of what we already have.”
The current intermediate school is a make-shift facility that was constructed over a 40 year period. The oldest building is nearly 70 years old.
“The intermediate school has a historic value to the community, but it’s pretty mature,” Hail noted. “You have these independent buildings that have no real connection to each other physically and provide concerns with safety and security.”
When completed, district leaders say that they will move 6th grade from the junior high to the intermediate school.
Other top-tier projects under the bond proposal are five additional classrooms at the elementary school and 10 new classrooms at the high school.
“We feel that, when completed, these projects will give us room for 20% capacity growth. So, if we grow by 20 kids per grade level then we could still handle the growth and maintain our educational programs,” said Hail, whose district averages approximately 1,000 students amongst its four campuses.
Projects under the second tier of the master plan include:
• a new gym and expanded cafeteria at the high school.
• an expanded agriculture shop and field house.
• a facelift to the junior high.
• a waterline expansion and roof repairs.
• a new auditorium.
“The plan was to list every project that we need and then prioritize the educational projects,” Hail noted. “In an ideal world, this is a 2 ½ to 3-year process. There have been some real challenges with the construction process, which could limit the number of projects that we are able to do.”
HOW TO VOTE
The bond package will be part of the Nov. 2 Constitutional Amendment Election for New Waverly ISD voters.
In-person early voting will be held Oct. 18 to Oct. 29 at the Walker County Storm Shelter in Huntsville. The last day to apply to vote by mail is Oct. 22.