Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
LITTLE CYPRESS —
The future is looking bright for the students of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District.
Voters approved a proposed $56 million bond election on Saturday, May 11, by a margin of 1,306 for to 954 against. This bond will help address multiple security concerns at campuses across the district, as well as help replace and repair aging facilities on each campus.
Each campus has its own set of proposed projects, according to initial plans from the bond proposal committee.
At LC-M High School, funds would be used to provide a secure front entrance by relocating the current entrance, which faces the parking lot and woods, to face State Highway 87. It would also lead to the demolition of the library in the center of the campus and enclose the same area through the construction of new classrooms and a new library.
Other items included call for the demolition, construction and equipping of a new, state of the art kitchen and cafeteria, as well as a new gymnasium. The cosmetology building and field house would also be connected to the main building.
Plans for Little Cypress Junior High include a secure front entrance as well by relocating the current entrance to face Meeks Drive.
New construction is also planned for the campus including new classrooms, offices, library and more, while connecting the two existing gymnasiums and the cafeteria to the new building.
The cafeteria and kitchen will be upgraded, and bleachers in the gymnasium will be replaced. Remaining buildings will be demolished and parking added.
Little Cypress Elementary and Little Cypress Intermediate will see big changes as the campuses will be connected as exterior awning is extended. Each campus will have improved traffic flow for students being dropped off or picked up by parents and for school bus loading and unloading.
Mauriceville Middle School and Mauriceville Elementary would also become connected campuses through the extension of exterior awning. Each campus would receive new, secure front entrances as well.
The elementary have new classrooms constructed, while the current 200 building classroom wing would be demolished. Existing buildings would be connected and traffic flow improved for both campuses.
A new gymnasium, band hall and science lab would be constructed at the middle school campus, along with renovations to the offices and nurse’s office and new equipment. Existing buildings would be connected and parking added.
A new, state-of-the-art cafeteria and kitchen would be constructed to be utilized by both campuses.
“LC-M has never passed a bond over $12.5 million before, and that was in 1999,” said Dr. Pauline Hargrove, superintendent of the LC-M Consolidated Independent School District. “And that bond was unique because it didn’t raise taxes.”
Earlier this year, The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted to call for a $56 million bond election to help repair, and, in some cases, replace aging facilities throughout the district which were built between 30 to 60 years ago, depending on the campus.
A priority of the bond was in improving safety at each facility by providing for the construction of secure main entrances at all LC-M CISD campuses. These improvements will be made by connecting buildings together and eliminating exterior walkways between classes.
Taxes will increase for patrons of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District. The average market value of a residence within the district is currently $109,842.
According to information provided by the district, if the bond election is approved by voters, taxes on a house valued at $100,000 would increase by $266 per year.
However, this rate increase would not apply to district patrons who are ages 65 and older or disabled.
“I think people realized we, as a district, were in a position where something to be done,” Hargrove added. “We are responsible for making our community members understand the situation and what programs and services we are able to offer. We would be negligent not to provide for the safety and education that our students need.”
Hargrove and supporters of the proposed bond, which included a standing room only crowd inside the board room of the LC-M CISD Administration building later that night, were on pins and needles in anticipation of the results. The topic was one of great interest to the community as approximately 20 percent of the registered voters went to the polls.
“We knew it would be tough, but we believed in our families and our supporters and knew this is what we had to do,” she continued. “This whole effort has been undergirded in prayer. We are rejoicing and giving thanks to the Lord and each and every person who helped make this possible. It was truly a united effort.”
A proposed $40 million bond election failed to gain voter approval in May 2008 and fell short by 56 votes.
The earliest timetable for any potential construction now that voters have approved the bond would be in the spring of 2014.