The Humble ISD Board of Trustees unanimously called for a bond election on May 7 that would fund 19 projects plus additional technology and career and technical education projects at a cost of $775 million.
Voters will consider two propositions, Proposition A for $730 million for facility improvements, and Proposition B for $45 million for technology needs.
The call was approved at the trustee board meeting Feb. 15.
Early voting is April 25-29 and May 2-3, and May 7 is Election Day.
Rotary Club of Lake Houston members got a first look at the bond proposal when Dr. Roger Brown spoke Feb. 9 at the Lake Houston Family YMCA.
Humble ISD is considered a fast growth district, Brown said, with 42,000 students during the 2017 school year, a jump to 48,000 students in 2022, and an estimate of more than 52,000 students by 2029.
“We normally see a growth of a thousand students each year, but this year we gained almost 2,500,” Brown said. “We must prepare for growth.”
He was so enthusiastic about the distinctive and innovative schools that Humble ISD is building and renovating that he made the Rotarians an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“I would like you to come to Centennial Elementary located in the Lakewood Pines subdivision to ‘feel’ the environment. Talking about it just isn’t enough,” said Brown.
He explained how Humble ISD is calling for a 2022 bond election to continue to upgrade older schools to the standards already being built into the newer schools by using the 2018 voter-approved bond. The 2018 bond allowed older schools to be “daylighted” with new exterior classroom windows and new hallway and library skylights.
The 2018 bond for $575 million allowed the district to rebuild the Charles Street Stadium in Humble, build a new northern Ag Barn, rebuild North Belt Elementary and Kingwood Middle School, and secure all school visitor entries so that “…it is a challenge to get it,” he said. “Safety was our top priority. Everyone must be let in.”
To prepare for the 2022 bond request, approximately 150 residents volunteered to take part in a Citizen Bond Advisory Committee. They were charged with creating a bond package for the Humble ISD trustees to consider that would not include a tax rate increase and would meet nine goals including enhancing safety, managing growth, incorporating innovation and best practices and being fiscally responsible to the district’s taxpayers.
“Our driving principles were to evaluate all district facilities to determine where we need to go and what we need to do,” Brown said, “and to touch every student and every family.”
The Citizen Bond Advisory Committee suggestions for the proposed bond includes:
New Mosaic Building – for students between 18-22 with disabilities who have graduated. The current program is in temporary buildings trying to help students in job training, building relationships and learning to live independently.
Humble High – A three phase project to, among many things, build a new practice gym and locker room addition, add 12 classrooms, four science labs, expanding the commons, renovating band, choir and orchestra, and rebuild the CTE wing for new classrooms, labs and shops.
Summer Creek Addition – Add two 20-classroom additions, more collaboration areas, a satellite lunch serving area and snack bar, and added parking.
The Summer Creek addition could be enough to manage the explosive growth in the southern part of the district so that Humble ISD may not need to build a seventh high school, “…a very expensive project,” Brown said.
Other projects under the proposed 2022 bond are replacing Ross Sterling and Foster elementary schools, both more than 50 years old. Adding band halls and dance rooms at middle schools. Building practice gyms for the middle schools. Replacing baseball and softball fields with turf. Creating a Junior ROTC obstacle course at Atascocita High and ninja warrior style playgrounds at other high schools.
“Each playground at every school will have a different theme,” Brown said, “and, if we learned anything from COVID, it taught us to get outdoors. The district is adapting that philosophy and, yes, anyone can use them when school isn’t in session.”
In a question from Gregg Mielke, Brown assured Rotarians that the proposed playgrounds would all have special-needs access.
Brown was peppered with more questions.
Pam McNair asked what will be done with the “old” Lakeland Elementary. Brown said no decision has been made. McNair asked about the life span of a typical school. Brown said 50 years. McNair then complimented Brown and the district for their efforts in rebuilding Kingwood Middle School, then asked for an update on the Kingwood High flood gates.
Brown explained the gates are being built with FEMA money and are being installed now. He said more gates will be built to protect the district building at Kings Harbor which also floods.
The Citizens 2022 Bond Advisory Committee report can be viewed in PowerPoint on the Humble ISD website, humbleisd.net/bonds.
At the meeting’s conclusion, President Kathy Lemman reported the club bought two steers and four pigs at the recent Humble ISD Livestock Auction’s freezer sale which is open to anyone to buy an animal that is not sold in the auction or did not get a guaranteed buyer. Lemman thanked Cynthia and Larry Shiflet, owners of The Tribune, for partnering with the club to buy an animal.
The Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area meets Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m., at the Lake Houston YMCA. The Summer Creek satellite club meets at the Nimble Workspace on Redemption Square in Generation Park on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. To learn more about the advantages of being a Rotarian, lharotary.com.