Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
By Jo Anne Embleton
School district board members have started studying the lay of the land in order to prepare for future needs of the Troup schools, which currently have an enrollment of 1,124 in its PK-12 program.
On Monday, “there was a fairly lengthy discussion, just to kind of look to the future” and assess district needs in terms of building capacity, said Interim Superintendent Stuart Bird.
“Our principals gave a report on the capacity of the buildings, and we're looking at different ideas,” such as adding an intermediate campus, reconfiguring campuses, even possible purchase or repurposing of land in anticipation of future growth, he said.
“It's nothing immediate; we're looking anywhere from two to five years out,” Bird said, adding that “when they presented those reports, I didn't realize how near capacity we are.”
During the meeting, the board approved purchase of a new 78-passenger bus that will be delivered in the next four or five months and utilized at the beginning of the next school year for trips and regular bus routes.
The board also agreed to refinance a Series 2005 bond, reducing the district's annual debt service payment and saving the schools an estimated $800,000.
“It's just like refinancing your home,” Bird said; “when you get a lower interest rate, it reduces the overall payment.”
Meanwhile, three renovation and construction projects underway on the school property continue to go smoothly, Bird said.
Renovation of softball field utilized by both students and members of local Little League teams should be completed this week. Contractors with FIG Enterprises of Jacksonville are overseeing the $30,900 project, which entailed removing and replacing dirt from the infield, along with improving drainage in that area.
In a second project, a new concrete slab has been poured to create an improved tennis court at the high school, and will take approximately 30 days to cure, Bird said, adding that the project – which also calls for a restroom and storage facility – is expected to be completed during the latter half of February.
Also expected to be completed during that time period is the renovation of and addition to the district's ag barn. Concrete has been poured and new buildings erected, while other metal barns have been renovated, “just some much-needed updates to that facility,” the superintendent said.
The ag farm is located half a mile from Bullard High School on Texas Highway 135.