EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of stories about the Huntington school district's upcoming bond proposal.
HUNTINGTON — In the Nov. 3 election, Huntington voters will have a chance to vote yay or nay on a $19.295 million bond for new construction, renovation and upgrades at Huntington ISD.
During October, the district will be distributing information on the bond to the community. The bond is projected to raise taxes by 26 cents, causing the average homeowner in Huntington with a house valued at $95,000 to pay $133.05 more per year, or $11.09 per month.
“We wanted to be as transparent as we can so when it is time to go to the polls, voters can make the decision that’s best for them,” Superintendent David Flowers said. “We tried to do as much as we could while being cognizant of the cost. All of these things became apparent and stood out through parent and community surveys.”
The district laid out the costs of the bond in topical sections with the most expensive projects including $3.572 million for a new career tech/agriculture center, $6.355 million for a new multi-purpose center, $1.656 million to renovate the current boys/girls dressing area and weight room, and $2.730 million for a new multi-sport field house.
A brochure detailing this information and more will be mailed to voters before the town hall meetings in October.
In previous discussions, the board talked about including $1 million turf football field and a $1 million roofing job in the bond project, but ultimately they went with a less expensive fix to the field and took the money for the roofing project out of the fund balance.
“We wanted to be very efficient with the monies,” Flowers said. “If we were going out to ask the community to support a bond, wants and needs were key. Going through the process, spending a year looking at these things, we weighed our wants and needs to make sure what we were asking for was needed in HISD.”
The last bonds have addressed things at the middle school and the elementary school, so the focus of this bond would be on the high school, Flowers said.
Through surveys and discussions with the community, Flowers said the district learned that the career tech/ag facility was very important to them along with the renovation of many things, including the field house that has been around since 1982 and facilities for extracurricular and fine arts programs.
Flowers, athletic director Shawn Jones, high school principal Shane Stover, program directors, teachers and students all expressed that there is a need for more space, upgraded facilities and additional features to facilitate the natural growth of the school.
“When this building was built, CTE wasn’t really a thing,” Stover said. “As education has evolved over the last 20 years, we’re really trying to have space designed for those purposes, those classrooms, and a regular classroom designed to fit 20-25 kids in desks, doesn’t necessarily work for the equipment that is necessary for those CTE classes.”
In the high school, three ag teachers are sharing two classroom spaces and taking up workshop space, the dance department cannot use their room for dancing because it is not large enough, the health science department just received a $100,000 grant with equipment that requires more space than they have, multiple sports are using the same locker rooms, theater students have to walk from one side of the high school to sign in and trek to the other side to practice and work in the auditorium and more.
Early voting runs from Oct. 13-30, and general election day is Nov. 3.