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CCISD Facilities Advisory Committee recommends upgrades to address high school crowding, district safety and security

District looking ahead to projected growth to 10,000 students in the next 10 years



Cove Leader-Press


During its regular meeting on Tuesday evening, the Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees voted unanimously to call for a $175 million bond election to be held on May 4.

The vote came after a presentation given by representatives of a 34-member facilities advisory committee shared recommendations. The committee first met in November 2021, evaluating and touring a number of the district campuses, and also consulted with the Texas Association of School Boards during campus reviews.

Committee members Susan Wagner and JC Stubbs made the presentation to the board, which demonstrated many of the areas in the district’s campuses that needed addressing, particularly at Copperas Cove High School.

Those areas at the high school include overcrowding which creates safety issues, aging infrastructure, a cafeteria size that is too small for the student body, and inadequate restrooms and dressing rooms.

“We also looked at the latest demographic study that the district commissioned. That study shows the district's enrollment projections for the next 10 years. In that 10-year stretch, beginning with this school year, the district’s enrollment is projected to jump 20-25% to almost 10,000 students. At the end of that same stretch, high school enrollment is projected to be just shy of 3,000 students,” said Wagner.

“We also reviewed modern security needs for schools and listened to concerns within the community as well the district's current procedures to maintain and replace technical equipment on campuses. We really came to the conclusion that we needed to make upgrades for our students most importantly.”

The proposed solutions at the high school are adding additional classroom space and science labs, renovating existing classrooms and restroom facilities, flipping the layout of the campus so the main entrance is on Avenue D, expanding the cafeteria to accommodate current student population and projected growth, expanding the band hall to include additional practice rooms for the growing band program, and adding student dressing rooms for programs lacking appropriate space.

A new cafeteria could seat an additional 1,000 students indoors and add 1,000 seats for outdoor dining, and expand to 10 serving lines, according to the presentation.

“The renovations that this group has worked on at the high school is not really just putting lipstick on a pig,” said Supt. Burns. “They are really structurally changing some of the high school issues and addressing some of the bad things that exist. For example, there's some hallways over there that go to nowhere. There's places back there that kids love to get into those places that are challenging to keep track of them.

“The other thing that we have at the high school that is a challenge, and you saw some pictures of a crowded hallway. This group has worked, and one of the things that the architect has worked on is to create a zone high school where for the majority of the day, freshmen students stay in one hall, sophomore students stay in another hall, junior students and seniors stay in another hall.

“Right now, it’s a Mixmaster every time we transition with students going here and there. The only crossover we would see is fine arts and athletics when kids are going to those periods under the new scheme.”

The bond funds would also address security and safety enhancements districtwide, such as enclosing outdoor walkways at Williams-Ledger Elementary, Fairview-Jewell Elementary, and Clements-Parsons Elementary. Other upgrades would include ensuring ADA accommodations for all students and staff, as there are several campuses with ADA issues.

Other campuses seeing renovations will include the Miss Jewell wing of Fairview-Jewell Elementary, and also expanding the Copperas Cove Junior High School cafeteria and adding bathrooms.

As part of the presentation, Wagner elaborated on those issues on several campuses.

“The outdoor walkways at consolidated campuses like Williams/Ledger, Fairview/Jewell, and Clements/Parsons expose our kids to the elements including extreme heat, cold, wind, and rain. The cafeteria at both Copperas Cove High School and Copperas Cove Junior High are both too small for the prospective student population.

“The cafeteria at Copperas Cove Junior High School does not have restrooms inside and requires students to leave the cafeteria in order to use the restroom. This creates a supervision issue for the campus staff.

“There are also inadequate restrooms and dressing rooms at Copperas Cove High School. There are teams and physical education classes without dedicated space. One of these issues stems from as evidence in the bottom picture, where you see footprints as the student has to walk through water that has flooded the floor of the baseball walkway. This happens every time it rains.”

The bond would also fund dedicated classroom space for each CCISD instructor, as the presentation pointed out that there are approximately 30 instructors at CCHS without homerooms, including all Special Education inclusion teachers. This also adds to the crowded hallways, Burns pointed out, with teachers moving their carts from room to room.

The overall plan takes into account future growth of the district, including studies that point to anticipated growth over the next 10 years.

Discussions with the board also surrounded why the recommendations didn’t include the construction of a new high school. One of the factors was cost and the other, location.

“The average cost of a 3,000-student high school is over $400 million, just for the high school alone, and that does not include an auditorium and it doesn't include a stadium,” said Superintendent Burns. “And folks, we looked at land, we tried to buy. We had a couple of people we talked to that said, ‘Hey, we'll sell you land.’”

Burns said that it’s not just land, but road frontage.

“I don't want our high school or any campus to be stuck behind a liquor store or a vape shop or a convenience store. We want road frontage, and we want that for security purposes. We want to be able to get in and out and not be obscured by something else.

“The $420 million is beyond our ability even if we max the tax rate. There’s no way you could get to $400 million per campus.”

The district has not had a bond issued since 2005, and that note will be paid off next year. That bond paid for renovations at Copperas Cove High School, Copperas Cove Junior High, and Halstead Elementary.

Per the district, the estimated impact of the current proposed bond would be $27.81 per month for a home valued at $200,000, the average market value for a home in Copperas Cove ISD.

Disabled veterans or surviving spouses of a member of the U.S. armed services killed in the line of duty would not see an increase in taxes, even with the passing of the bond, if the disabled veteran was awarded 100 percent disability compensation due to a service-connected disability and a rating of 100 percent disabled or of individual unemployability to a total property tax exemption on the disabled veteran's residence homestead.

“We want to make sure that our community is well-informed with the facts around this bond proposal,” Dr. Burns said. “We will send out information by mail, email, and social media with factual information about the bond propositions.”


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Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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