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Lakes Area ...
$20 million bond will pay for new Buna high school; old school will be remodeled
BUNA - by Lauren Huet
At Fausto's Restaurant in Buna, Gary Jordan is planning for the day ahead. Tuesday's news about the school bond is still fresh on his mind.
"I graduated from here and it's still the same original building," said Jordan. "I know, definitely, we need some improvements."
Leslie Rhodes, a mother of a Buna ISD student, says she voted for the 20 million dollar school bond.
"I have a son that's in the fifth grade, so it's going to benefit him," said Rhodes. "So of course it was in my interest."
The Buna ISD Superintendent, Steve Hyden, said the condition of the junior high school fueled the need for the bond. He says the main building of the junior high was built in 1964, and it holds less than 20 percent of the school's classes.
"The rest of the classes exist in metal structures," said Hyden. "Including about 12 or 13 portable buildings that are in excess of 30 years old."
He says when the district built a lot of the portables in 1980, having a campus with numerous points of entry wasn't a safety hazard.
"You can't lock that campus down, and nowadays that's an issue," said Hyden.
The bond will pay for the remodeling of the high school, and allow the district to turn it into a junior high school.
"So we should have plenty of room to have everybody inside," said Hyden. "When we build our cafeteria, we'll attach that to the building. We can lock that building down and control it."
The bond will also pay for a new high school. Buna High School Principal Nathan Ross says the new school will give students more opportunities.
"We have a lot of stuff here that's outdated, a lot of changes in technology, and we've kind of reached the end of what this particular facility can do for us," said Ross.
Superintendent Hyden says building on the new high school will begin June 2014. He says it should be finished by the fall of 2015. Once the high school students move into the new high school, the district can begin remodeling the old facility. Hyden says the junior high students will be able to move into the remodeled high school in the fall of 2016.
He also said the 20 million dollar bond will increase taxes by "280 dollars for a 100 thousand dollar property [owner]" and "560 dollars for a 200 thousand dollar property [owner] per year."
"I'm really proud of our community, I really am," said Ross. "It speaks volumes for people who are willing to take the hit with their taxes to assure that the students and the kids in our community have top notch facilities."