Bond projects keeping pace as promised

February 18, 2011

Even though 3,000 more students enrolled in Northside ISD this school year, the District accommodated the growth because five new schools opened and many bond projects were completed. Projects being funded by School Bond 2007 are on schedule, and planning already has started on projects funded by School Bond 2010. Detailed information about the bond projects, construction schedule, and budget status is available on the District’s Bond website.

Here’s a general status report on the District’s bond projects:

Renovations/Additions: Northside’s oldest high school, Marshall High School, is now home to NISD’s newest school auditorium. A grand opening ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. March 3 for the new 989-seat, state-of-the-art facility. The building will also house other fine arts classrooms.

In addition, renovations recently were completed at Glenn Elementary School and Pease Middle School. Another major renovation project at Rayburn Middle School is slated to begin in May 2011. In addition, Michael Elementary School is getting a new seven-classroom addition, and O’Connor High School is getting a new 16-classroom addition and a new ROTC facility.

Technology: Technology throughout the District continues to receive attention as projects designed to replace aging technology and add technology are completed. For example:
• NISD has implemented a five-year replacement cycle for computers instead of a six-year cycle.
• Elementary and middle schools are receiving twice as many computers as they have in the past in order to give students more access    to technology. Elementary schools are moving from a 5.3-to-1 student-to-computer ratio to a 2.4-to-1 student-to-computer ratio; middle schools will go from a 4.6-to-1 to 2.2-to-1 ratio, and high schools will go from a 3.6-to-1 to 2.2-to-1 ratio.
• There will be two student computers in each Northside classroom, and each school will have several mobile carts of wireless netbooks.
• Document cameras that interface with the ceiling-mounted projector have replaced the old overhead projectors on AV carts.
• Campus-based technology funds are being used to purchase items that meet specific campus needs, such as digital cameras and camcorders, Classroom Performance Systems (to allow teachers to get immediate feedback on student comprehension), digital slates, interactive whiteboards, and eBook readers.

Student safety and security: Student safety and security remains high on the list of bond projects. In School Bond 2010, voters approved funds to install video digital cameras in all elementary schools. This follows a successful deployment in the high schools and middle schools. At the elementary schools, cameras will primarily provide surveillance to the perimeter and entry doors. The first two prototypes of the new security systems are being installed now at Westwood Terrace and Martin elementary schools. It is expected that all elementary schools will be completed within 20 months.

Band practice fields: Also in School Bond 2010, to maintain equity in the practice fields for all high schools, two new band practice fields will soon be a reality. Designs have been approved for Taft and Holmes high schools.

Science classrooms: Students at Jones, Stevenson, and Zachry middle schools will soon be studying in brand new science classrooms and labs. All the projects are funded through School Bond 2010 and are due to come online by summer 2013.