New Doors Open as Students Head Back to School

New Doors Open as Students Head Back to School
Sixth-Grade Campus

July 20, 2015 – Doors are opening for many in the community this summer as Amarillo ISD faculty prepare classrooms at the new Bowie 6th and Travis 6th grade campuses for the first class of students to learn within their walls. These campuses, built near the middle schools their students will attend in the following year, are designed with particular care to provide the best instructional environment for these diverse student populations.

A committee comprised of architects, principals, program directors, cluster directors and others met over the course of more than two years to design these sixth-grade campuses. The committee studied trends in educational environments and the program needs at each campus while planning the schools.

“It was a great learning experience to work with the design team to plan for a new campus,” explains Travis Principal David Manchee. “The Travis 6th Grade Campus was planned to provide for collaborative opportunities, technology implementation, and traditional learning. The new campus will be something the Travis community will be proud of and excited about.”

In addition to these two new campuses, 57 classrooms at seven schools and a new cafeteria at Eastridge Elementary have been constructed to accommodate the continued growth of AISD’s student population. A primary focus of School Bond 2013 projects addresses the significant student population increase, which at the time of the bond election had grown by more than 3,000 students in just six years.

With more than 70 percent of projects set for completion by September, the bond projects in the progress and design stages include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacement at 19 schools and video surveillance expansion. Though planned for in the bond election, a new elementary school near Caprock High School will not be built until the student population growth justifies it by reaching at least 250 to 300 students.

According to AISD Chief Financial Officer Les Hoyt, though a few projects, like the sixth-grade campuses, are coming in over-budget, others such as HVAC replacement and video surveillance are under budget. In all, projections are the $99.45 million bond issue will be sufficient to cover all of the identified needs.

The final touches on synthetic turf projects will be coming to a close as the school year begins. One new synthetic turf athletic field has replaced an existing natural grass field at each of the district’s nine middle schools. The artificial turf fields will provide a safer playing surface for students, extend use of the fields to more months of the year, and save maintenance and water costs.

Last school year began with the completion of secured entrances at 13 elementary campuses. Now, all elementary schools in AISD have main entrance configurations which direct visitors through a reception area in the school office before they can access the rest of the campus.

Amarillo voters approved a 2-cent tax increase and approved a $99.45 million school bond issue for AISD in May 2013. Bond-funded projects included facility improvements, security enhancements, renovations and additions.

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