Northeast Tarrant

Birdville school leaders move forward with $163.2 million bond program

Birdville Elementary School in Haltom City is one of several schools that will be rebuilt with a $163.2 million bond issue.
Birdville Elementary School in Haltom City is one of several schools that will be rebuilt with a $163.2 million bond issue. Star-Telegram

School leaders are moving forward with plans to rebuild the aging Academy at West Birdville Elementary — one of several projects approved by voters as part of a $163.2 million bond program.

The bond program, approved in November, includes reconstruction of three aging campuses, improvements to science labs, increased campus security and technology upgrades. Birdville school leaders are working with three architectural companies to design and construct projects outlined in the plan.

“I sense enthusiasm and support in the community,” said Cary Hancock, school board president.

The district is negotiating contracts with three companies approved for the projects, said Mark Thomas, spokesman for the school district.

HKS, a Dallas-based company, was chosen to design and build a new academy, Thomas said. Huckabee & Associates of Fort Worth and PBK Architects were chosen to handle different parts of the bond. Huckabee will be working on the expansion of Birdville High School and a rebuild of Birdville Elementary.

The academy, at 3001 Layton Drive in Haltom City, opened in 1950. It was originally 23,285 square feet. After six additions through the years, it is now 67,052 square feet.

“It will be larger and on the same location,” Thomas said.

The district used a similar plan several years ago when it rebuilt Richland High School. Construction took place on the campus’ old parking lot while classes continued in the old building.

The district plans to break ground on the new academy at the end of this school year. The opening is planned for fall of the 2016-17 school year, Thomas said. The district expects new Birdville Elementary School and North Richland Middle School to be ready for students in fall 2017.

TDK Architects will design North Richland Middle School, 4800 Rufe Snow Drive in North Richland Hills, and other projects in the bond. Thomas said. North Richland Middle was built in 1962.

Contract amounts were not available Tuesday.

School leaders said they expect projects to stay within budget and want to move swiftly.

“We have tried to expedite it as much as we can,” Hancock said.

An eight-member citizens bond oversight committee is expected to be named this week, Hancock said.

The district also expects to sell the first round of bonds this month, Thomas said. The amount of the first sale has not been determined yet.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

Twitter: @dianeasmith1