Orangefield education leaders share positive impacts for all Bobcats due to bond election

Published 12:20 am Thursday, November 16, 2023

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ORANGEFIELD — Addressing the safety and capacity needs across Orangefield Independent School District was the vision behind the voter approved $42.9 million bond.

And now the real work is kicking off.

District Officials hired Phluger Architects in June, and the board of trustees and superintendent have been working closely with them since, Board President Laura Clark said.

“Now that the bond has passed, the coming months will see a lot of activity, as there are many steps to complete before we choose a construction company or break ground,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Shaun McAlpin said the district is excited about the bond passing and grateful to the Orangefield community and supporters of students, staff and district.

The next step is a planning phase where officials collect input from staff, administration and the board of trustees to ensure the plan of action for construction meets the needs of the students.

McAlpin said a timeline has not been set, as there are a number of other actions that need take place, such as the sale of the bonds, taking into account the market for the bonds to be sold and the availability of workers.

The bond program addressed safety and security upgrades, renovations and additions, and upgrades to aging facilities.

The focus of the bond is centered around classroom additions to provide instructional space for students and to accommodate enrollment growth in the district.

When asked the reason for the bond, McAlpin said the biggest focus was school safety and making sure the schools’ capacities continue meet the increasing enrollment while taking into account aging facilities.

In addition, there was a space need for career and technology courses.

The plan, McAlpin said, is to get started on the work as soon as possible.

Orangefield has a bright future, he adding, saying the school system is the heart of the community.

“We are very proud of it,” he said.

Clark explained how the passage of the bond benefits current and future students, saying much work has already been done to enhance safety for the students.

“This funding will allow us to move students at every campus to brick-and-mortar classrooms and out of portable buildings,” she said. “In addition, this funding will provide additional classrooms at each campus and position each for further expansion and improvement if needed in the future. The additional classrooms at the high school will allow further expansion of the Career & Technology Education programs. In addition, the elementary and high school will each receive a larger, more modern cafeteria to adequately and efficiently serve our students along with a stage in each. There will be other improvements at the campuses as needed to enhance the learning environment of our Bobcats.”

— Written by Mary Meaux