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Bond approval allows PGISD to address facility needs

by Andrew Bell | May 9, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Students file into Margaret Fischer Davis Elementary School on the campus' opening day Nov. 9, 2020. A political action committee formed by Pleasant Grove Independent School District found that the elementary, the district’s newest campus, does not need significant repairs or improvements. Instead, funds from the recently approved $39.9 million bond will go to improvements and constructions at the district's other campuses. (Gazette staff photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- The $39.9 million bond for Pleasant Grove Independent School District will provide an opportunity to vastly improve school facilities, district representatives say.

By a final election count of 843 for and 577 against, voters on Saturday approved the bond, which does not include a tax rate increase.

"It's big for our district, it's big for our kids and it's big for our teachers," Superintendent Chad Pirtle said. "This is going to provide us with an opportunity to improve our facilities and provide more for our community and kids."

Planned campus upgrades include:

• New high school cafeteria

• Remodeling the current high school cafeteria in a College and Career Counseling Center

• Additions to the high school performing arts center (scene shop and storage) and sound booth relocation

• New high school field house including classroom space, boys and girls locker rooms, and sports medicine facilities

• New high school baseball/softball/track complex at Pleasant Grove High School

• High school renovations in the library, restrooms, hallways and common areas

• Significant renovations to Pleasant Grove Middle School, including improved functionalities, roof, HVAC, interior and exterior updates

• Intermediate school classroom addition

• Intermediate school renovations to library and general interior/exterior updates

Jeff Harris, a former PGISD board member who was on the district's political action committee, said the bond addresses the district's longstanding needs.

"Many of these items were on the wish list over 10 years ago when I served on our school board," said Harris, who served the board for over nine years. "These items must be done routinely to provide a safe and effective learning environment for our students currently and for decades to come."

Harris said the middle school especially needs updates.

"The renovation of our oldest campus at the middle school is greatly needed," he said. "The decision was made to be able to renovate and effectively improve that school to current standards instead of the cost of new construction. Along with basic interior change, the roof and A/C system must be replaced."

The PAC had discussed building a new middle school, but the decision was made to renovate the existing one at a huge savings.

The committee was formed to scout PGISD's campus needs. It comprised administration members, board members, staff members and community members, who explored opportunities to improve campus facilities within the district without raising taxes. Harris said the committee was efficient in bouncing ideas off of each other and considering the best use of funds.

"They spent hours and many meetings discussing what was needed to continue to strive for excellence in our district," he said. "Each campus was looked at from all angles to determine best methods to achieve results at minimal cost.

"Schools are expensive, and that is something you have to adapt to if you are going to maintain the standards and excellence you desire."

Print Headline: Bond approval allows PGISD to address facility needs

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