$330 million Spring ISD bond project more than halfway completed, district says

SPRING, Texas — In the year since Spring ISD taxpayers approved the district’s $330 million bond program, nearly two-thirds of the projects are either complete or well into the planning and design phase with plans to break ground on several projects this summer.

“We’ve really hit the ground running,” said Chief Operations Officer Mark Miranda. “From the moment the voters gave us the go-ahead, we’ve been pushing an aggressive timeline so our students can benefit from all the upgrades and new facilities.”

Some of that work is already visible, including the 60 new buses that rolled out at the beginning of the school year, expanding transportation to up to 5,000 more students in vehicles with the latest safety equipment.

Also checked off the bond program’s to-do list were the bulk of $32 million in technology upgrades that were completed over the summer and into this fall, including improved wireless infrastructure and the purchase and distribution of over 8,000 Chromebooks and laptops to students and teachers.

Less obvious are the steps the district’s bond office has taken to launch the biggest program ever in Spring ISD, such as the sale of nearly 70 percent of the bonds last February. That gave the district the money to move forward with interviewing and hiring a director of planning and construction, architects, a bond fund accountant, other engineering and design professionals and a slate of contractors — all key personnel for the implementation of the bond program.

“A bond program of this size is complex, so it’s important we have all the right people in place to do the work,” said Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. “I’m pleased with all the progress because it gets us one step closer to opening these facilities.”

At their December meeting, Spring ISD trustees got a detailed look at the proposed designs for both the district stadium and the police center.

Using a 117-acre parcel of land off Cypresswood Drive just south of Burchett Elementary school, the new stadium features a state-of-the art turf field with seating for 8,000 fans, a large community room, Hall of Fame area, band plaza, concessions and food prep areas, home and away locker rooms, as well as hospitality and press box areas.

A special feature would be a special memorial plaza to honor service members from the Spring area.

“Stadiums are highly visible,” said Laura Sachtleben, one of the architects on the project from the firm of Stantec. “We know the importance of this and we’re honored to be part of it.”

Sachtleben assured the trustees that the proposed design was developed with the input of multiple departments, including athletics, transportation and police. The firm has also been working with the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) on the project, Satterfield and Pontikes.

Under the current schedule, construction on the stadium would visibly begin in late Spring with a target completion date of third quarter 2019, in time for football season.

Trustees also had the opportunity to see the proposed designs for the new Spring ISD Police Command Center and Tax Office, which will be located at a district-owned building at 420 Lockhaven Drive.

The GPD Group (previously SBWV) presented a $1.8 million plan that would renovate the first floor of the 41,644-square-foot building for the police department, now located on N. Forest Boulevard, and renovate the second floor for the tax office, technology department offices and the district’s risk management group.

“We’re committed to creating a state-of-the-art facility that is more than double the size of the police department’s current building,” Miranda said. Besides adding much-needed office and cubicle space for the district’s 62 police officers and six dispatchers, the renovated building would also include a new holding area as well as a secure property storage room. The building would also feature a large training space that could be used by the police department, as well as other district staff, as needed.

“The district has definitely outgrown the current facility,” said Trustee Justine Durant, who praised the district for purchasing a building that already included features that would work well for a police department, including a sally port and even some furnishings.

By renovating the second floor for the tax office, the district would be able to move those operations out of the portable buildings at the Gordon M. Anderson Leadership Center at 16717 Ella Boulevard.

The office space would feature a larger lobby, tax servicing windows, tax record storage and vault room, as well as some conference room areas for taxpayer meetings. The renovation work is expected to kick off in the spring, Miranda said.

As the bond team looks ahead into the new year, Miranda said the goal is to make additional progress on the planning and design of the replacement building for Roberson Middle School to be located on a 22-acre site just north of Spears Road at Veterans Memorial Drive. The architectural firm of Huckabee is currently working with administration and teachers to develop the program and design of the school, which will accommodate up to 800 students.

In addition, the team expects to also start developing programming and design concepts in the weeks ahead for the new Middle School No. 8, which would be located across from Northgate Crossing Elementary in the north part of the district.

The team has also recently hired architects for about $20 million in deferred maintenance projects, which will include upgrades in mechanical, HVAC and plumbing improvements.

“We have a lot going on,” Miranda said. “I’m looking forward to getting shovels in the ground as soon as possible so everybody can see the progress.”