By Alton Porter
LATEXO – Latexo ISD officials and staffers are set for contractors to begin constructing facilities planned for the district’s $5 million bond project.
The Latexo Independent School District Board of Directors, Superintendent Michael Woodard and others held a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday morning, Aug. 19, to kick off initial aspects of the bond project.
The project will include construction of a multi-purpose facility, which will be used as a gymnasium and a community events venue; a cafeteria/dining room for elementary school students; and a career and technical education (CTE) classrooms unit for high school students.
“We’re excited to get started—to finally get the fence up and start some building around here on both the elementary and high school (campuses),” Woodard told news reporters following the groundbreaking.
In answer to a question asking when construction will begin, Woodard said, it “probably starts next week (with) putting the fence (that will surround the construction site) up and (contractors will) get after it from there.”
Woodard said it is expected to take “probably a year or a year and a half” to complete the building of facilities in the bond construction project; “that depends on weather and, of course, materials.”
The timeline includes construction of everything, hopefully, Woodard said, including the multi-purpose facility, the elementary cafeteria and CTE classrooms. “That’s the game plan,” he said.
Woodard added, the construction project is the result of an effort “in the community to bring this and it’s been a long time coming, for sure.”
Board President and Position 5 Trustee Kelly Nicol said “I’d like to just thank the community for having the trust in us to take on this project and we’re going to do a good job for them and have something that everybody can be really proud of.”
Nicol commented on the bond’s passage and called it “an overwhelming turn-out and win for us.”
“We had a two-to-one margin in the victory. It was obvious that the community wanted this,” he added.
The officials did not have documents with them at the groundbreaking showing the price the Berry and Clay commercial construction company submitted to them to oversee and carry out the project, but Nicol said “We started this whole process with the bond being passed.”
He explained that COVID pushed the election, which was initially slated for May 2020 back to November.
“And then, after Covid, everybody knows everything went skyrocketing—the price of steel, the price of fuel, concrete, all the building materials. No one passed a bond in this area (during that period) except us. The other people around the state are all over budget. All the contractors I’ve talked to—they’re like, ‘Man, we don’t know if a lot of these jobs are going to even happen because they’re so high over budget.’,” he said.
“(However,) we’re under budget. All of our projects are (included in the district’s construction project plan). It was just an unbelievable effort by our contractors to get this thing done and under budget. And we’re just proud to be part of it and we’ve got the right people behind us,” Nicol added.
About Vulcraft, one of the projects subcontractors, Nicol said, “Vulcraft has been a great partner for us, and we feel they’ll be a great partner in the future, not only in this building project but inside the walls of our school. They’re a great community partner, and we look forward to working with Vulcraft for many years.”
In concluding his and Nicol’s interview with news reporters, Woodard said, “We’re ready to get started—everybody is.”
Joe Sumner, of Berry and Clay, who attended the groundbreaking, along with the company’s vice president and project manager, Stephen Berry, will serve as the site superintendent for the bond construction project on behalf of the construction company.
He told the Courier his responsibility will be to oversee “overall site construction—to ensure the trades are performing their work, scheduling all the trades…, as well as meeting the different administrators or whatever may be taking place on the job; just overall site.
“That’s basically what my job is—ensure that the (facilities) are being built correctly. It’s a little bit of everything: everything from scheduling; (ensuring) it’s built correctly; meeting with the owners from the school district—stuff like that—quality control. Everything that goes into it is kind of what my job is.”