Cost of Bond Discussed by Grapeland ISD

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The cost of a proposed bond to finance the construction of a new elementary school for the Grapeland Independent School District was discussed at the GISD Board of Trustees meeting held on Monday, Jan. 17.

Mark Strong, a partner in the design firm of Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong, informed the GISD board members his firm had come up with more concrete ideas based on the board’s previous decision to move forward with construction of a new facility.

“The plan is pretty much the same plan as we discussed at the community meeting (held in December.) The square footage has dropped a little bit to about 44,667 square feet. As we move forward, we will want to begin to have meetings with administrators, teachers and other people who may have interest in the campus plan,” Strong said.

He said while the square footage was probably going to stay the same, the layout of the building was open to change.

Also present at the meeting were Danny Berry and Stephen Berry with the Berry and Clay construction firm.

“We have looked at Mark’s drawings and we have added some costs associated with the square footage. We have looked at the different components of the building and at the end you will see the 44,667 square footage number. We are seeing a range of construction – at the low end – of around $6,476,570. On the high end, we are looking at $6,923,230,” Stephen Berry said.

Berry explained the cost per square foot was adjusted for inflation but stressed the cost could possibly decrease. He also said these were only the construction costs and there would be what he termed “soft costs” which Strong would explain.

“What soft costs are,” Strong explained, “are the architectural and engineering fees, any testing like soil or surveying that is done. There is also FFE costs which is furniture, fixtures and equipment. We feel like all the soft costs are going to add just about $1 million to the costs we quoted you. The total bond cost will be somewhere in the $7.4 to $7.95 million range – at the top end – when you add the soft costs in.”

The bond matter was a discussion item only and as a result, no action was taken on the matter.

Prior to the bond discussion, the GISD Board of Trustees was recognized for their service to the district and to the Grapeland community.

“I have been a superintendent for 15 years. Over that time, I have had a lot of school board members and I know of a lot of superintendents who have issues with school board members. Maybe they get a little crosswise with them or things aren’t as easy for them as they should be,” GISD Superintendent Gregg Spivey said.

“I just want the community to know that you are blessed to have the board members you have. I am especially blessed because I work with them all the time and they truly care about the school and they have the students’ best interests in mind when they make decisions,” he said.

In other matters brought before the GISD Board:

  • The board received and approved the district’s financial audit from Belt, Harris, Pechachek, LLP. The district received an unmodified opinion
  • Spivey reported the district’s enrollment stood at 509 students as of Jan. 16.
  • The elementary campus improvement plan was approved.
  • The date of May 7 was approved as the date for school board elections. Early voting will start on April 24 and run through May 2.
  • Consent agenda items were approved.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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