Only five persons were present at Gilmer Elementary School, including School Supt. Rick Albritton, who presented the informational video on the $36.2 million bond package made by school board President Jeff Rash. Also attending the meeting were school board member Mike Tackett, a school district employee, this reporter, and one other man.
Displayed was a preliminary architectural drawing of the proposed new high school, drawn by Phil Thacker of the Longview architectural firm of Thacker/Davis Architects Inc. (The drawing, which is subject to change, was shown on the front page of Saturday’s Mirror).
Albritton told the meeting that preliminary plans call for a 2-story building with about 20 classrooms per floor. He also said GISD would “find the best site” to locate the new school on the 40 acres which the district owns in the high school area, and that the most probable location is near the current band hall.
He also said the school would, in planning, consider keeping the current cafeteria, although that would be “difficult.”
Asked by The Mirror about speculation that the bond issue was aimed at creating more parking for football games, Albritton denied that, saying the current concept might add only 60 or 70 parking spaces for that.
The superintendent also said that if voters approve improvements, community members and teachers would be involved a “long” planning process.
He additionally noted that since the school is having the bond election in conjunction with the election on proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, election day voting locations will be different than usual for school-related elections.
Early voting opens Monday at the Upshur County Courthouse and at the school administation building, 500 S. Trinity.
The ballot will have three propositions. The first is for the new high school and renovating the old vocational building on the high school campus to house the school district administration. The second is for new classrooms at Bruce Junior HIgh and the third, which would be approved only if the new high school wins passage, is for a “multipurpose” facility at the high school campus.
Approving all three would raise the school tax rate by 25.35 cents per $100 valuation.
The next town hall meeting on the bond issue is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bruce Junior High. A political action committee to support the bond issue has also been formed, and some yard signs urging passage have appeared in recent days.