With a $750 million bond proposal on the May ballot, construction workers enter the home stretch of several ongoing construction projects in Denton ISD.
An addition to Guyer High School is nearing completion, with contractors saying roughly 60 percent of the work is done. The $49.9 million project was included in the 2013 bond package to bring the school's capacity up from 2,600 students to 3,000.
Improvements to the campus include a new ninth-grade center, a fine arts addition, athletic facility renovations and a more secure front entrance to the school. Workers still have to build a shade structure for an interior courtyard, finish the roof and masonry in certain areas and add ceramic tiling.
Officials said construction on the ninth-grade center should be completed by the time the 2018-19 school year starts on Aug. 15. Additions to the rest of the building should wrap in the first few weeks of school. Teachers should be able to move into new classrooms by the end of July.
Board members noted during the last board meeting that they've received several complaints about parking, especially during the fall semester as the marching band practices in one of the parking lots. Contractors said they finished the school's parking lots last summer and would be making final changes to the school's traffic patterns once school starts in the fall.
Officials also said they were working with the Texas Department of Transportation and the city of Denton to install temporary signals at the intersection of Old Alton Road and Teasley Lane in the fall to help the flow of traffic.
"I want [principal] Dr. [Shaun] Perry to be able to send a letter out to those families and say, 'This is what we're doing,'" Superintendent Jamie Wilson said. "As much pushing as you can do on your end, we will do on ours."
Support Services Building
Across Elm Street from the district's current administration building, workers are putting the final touches on the three-story Giese Professional Support Services Building. The $15 million project was the last holdover from the 2007 bond proposal as board members delayed construction to build new schools instead.
The building will house several administrative departments, including finance, special education and English as a Second Language. Workers still have to add some exterior windows and metal paneling, wrap up some brick-laying, install interior light fixtures and finish some duct work.
Contractors said construction should be finished by the end of May. Then, departments will begin relocating as interior renovations start on other nearby administrative buildings.
Gary Street, which runs perpendicular to Elm and Locust streets, will be shut down and be turned into a walkway for staffers who travel between buildings. Board meetings will still be held in the Stephens Administration Building, located at 1307 N. Locust St.
The last project left in the 2013 bond package is the district's 24th elementary school, set to open for the 2019-20 school year. The school board named the school Union Park Elementary, a nod to the neighborhood it sits in along the U.S. Highway 380 Corridor near Braswell High School.
District spokesman Mario Zavala said crews have started moving dirt in the area, but construction on the $27.7 million school won't begin until May.
A 25th elementary school and a ninth middle school have been proposed in the district's upcoming bond referendum, but the largest chunk of money is slated for replacement campuses of existing schools. The bond also calls for more career and technology education, additional safety measures and upgraded extracurricular facilities.
Residents living within Denton ISD boundaries can vote to approve or strike down the bond measure in the upcoming local election. Early voting runs from April 23 through May 1, and election day has been set for Saturday, May 5.
CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862.
FEATURED PHOTO: Crew members work on additions Monday the fine arts section of Guyer High School in Denton. Jake King/DRC