There’s little doubt that the landscape of Weatherford ISD campuses has changed in the past few years.
With the recent completion of the new Hall Middle School and renovations to all campuses to address security concerns and the growth within the district, WISD certainly looks different than even it did last year.
And to paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin’ again.
Two new buildings - a Career Technology Center and a Multipurpose Activity Center – are set to be constructed on Weatherford’s high school property after trustees recently approved funding and accepted sealed bids from contractors and chose Pogue Construction to do the work at a combined cost of $9.884 million.
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The Career Technology Center, formerly known under its previous working title of a new Ag Science Center, will house five classrooms and four workshops. It will also alleviate travel for at least one program to and from the Ninth Grade Center to the high school for CTE classes and will help to address some of the overcrowding at the high school.
The $5.535 million cost will be paid for out of the remaining 2015 bonds funds that weren’t used.
"[Those] projects have been completed on time and under budget…this means additional dollars were available to address further facility needs," said WISD Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hanks. "As the board considered projects, they were committed to following the priority of facility recommendations by the Facility Advisory of Citizens, Teachers and Students Committee in 2015."
Hanks added that the board "honored" the committee by approving the Career Tech Center.
Kady Donaghey, WISD Director of Career and Technical Education, said that WISD offers 16 career clusters of CTE programs and that enrollment between middle and high schoolers was more than 2600 in the 2016-17 school year. Some students take multiple classes, Donaghey said.
The Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC) will be built at a cost of $4.349 million. By contrast, funds for this are coming from the 2017-18 general operating budget and Hanks stressed that no bond fund would be used for the MAC.
"Extracurricular activities are a critical part of providing our students a quality, well-rounded education," Hanks said. "Participation in extracurricular activities increases student engagement and ultimately improves academic success."
The center is designed for extracurricular student groups and minimizes the need for band, Blue Belles and Color Guard to practice in the high school parking lot; provides an indoor facility for extracurricular activity regardless of weather conditions; and minimizes the need to travel to Kangaroo Stadium for practice.
No completion date for the buildings has yet been set. Trustees got a preliminary look at what each of the buildings may look like back in the spring but some modifications were requested to be explored at the latest school board meeting earlier this month.