The Houston School District is holding a public forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday inside the Melba Performing Arts Center to discuss its proposed bond issue.

The district is proposing a $6 million, no tax increase bond to build a new gymnasium on campus along with other improvements that will begin connecting buildings on campus. The first bond is part of two phases. It would be paid for by extending the district’s current 80 cent levy into future years.

The election is April 2.

The school board voted in January to seek a new gymnasium. The first phase would add 1,650 seats with another 500 planned to be added in the future. The construction would include bathrooms, hallways, locker rooms, training rooms and connecting all classes inside Hiett Gymnasium. It would also begin to close the gap to the rear of the middle school building.

Hiett Gymnasium, which was built in 1964, would be renovated to make its main function for extra-curricular events such as choir and band concerts. Acoustic panels would be mounted to the walls and a large portable stage would be constructed. It would also continue to double as a practice facility and possibly be used for additional courts for tournaments. Middle school basketball games would be moved there as well.

2019 Houston Schools bond issue

The final renditions of a proposed new gymnasium at Houston Schools.

Although the ballot language says there would be HVAC upgrades if there were sufficient funds, Dr. Allen Moss said the bond would be used exclusively for the gymnasium.

“HVAC plans are being put together to replace 4-5 units each year out of existing district funds,” said Moss, the district’s superintendent. “We do not want anyone to be confused by this language or come back later and say that we were supposed to complete HVAC upgrades. We are continuing work at lowering the cost of the gym and if that were to happen, excess funds would be used to speed up the process of HVAC unit replacement.”

Early discussions of a potential bond issue also included renovating the track. Moss said the district plans to use Fund 4 monies to construct a new six-lane track for between $400,000 and $450,000. It will not be part of the bond issue.

An additional public meeting will be held March 26 at the Melba.

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