New CISD Middle School

Courtesy image- A concept image of the new middle school campus being planned for the Corsicana ISD. Construction is slated to start early in 2016, with completion in the Fall of 2017.

The Corsicana Independent School District Board of Trustees got a look at planning underway for the latest addition to the district — a new middle school campus being built adjacent to Tiger Stadium.

Representatives of Stantec, the architectural firm designing the campus, went over conceptual drawings for the new, two-story campus that will face FM 744 just west of the high school football stadium, and across 45th Street from Corsicana High School.

Koleman Uresti, senior project manager for the design team, said plans are being fine-tuned to meet the district’s needs, technology demands, and to create the most workable space for instruction of the seventh and eighth grade levels to be housed at the campus.

“We are still looking at ways to make it more efficient,” Uresti told trustees, adding they are considering both present and projected needs for the building.

Plans call for seventh graders to be located on the building’s first floor, with eighth graders occupying the second floor. Classrooms are being designed with each room facing the building’s exterior to allow for natural lighting, and common areas in the middle of the buildings used for additional instructional needs and student activity.

Superintendent Dr. Diane Frost said the small group, or “breakout” areas are an important part of the design.

“As we move toward learning that is more ‘hands-on’ they’ll have the opportunity to move to smaller spaces to work on group projects,” Frost said. “They’ll just pick up their computers and take them with them.” Ample outlets for charging of mobile devices is also being incorporated into the design, she said.

Additional outside areas are also being incorporated into the design, said Josh Sawyer, design architect for the firm. The areas could be used for outside instruction or study. Tennis courts, practice and competition fields for use by football and soccer teams is included at the rear of the campus building design.

Uresti said the design team is in contact with the district, the project’s construction manager-at-risk, and structural and civil engineers in finalizing planning for the new campus. Another presentation to trustees is planned in November, he said.

The timetable for the new campus calls for construction to begin in early 2016, with the new campus ready for classes beginning in Fall 2017.

The $36 million project is part of the bond program approved by CISD voters in November 2014.

The district has said the present Collins Middle School would become the district’s intermediate school, and the Drane campus would no longer be used as a school campus when the new building is completed.

CISD MEETING BRIEFS

Student code of conduct approved

Danzell Lee, executive director of administration, presented the board with the 2015-1016 Student Code of Conduct. Lee reviewed some legislative changes that impacted the wording of the code, including new definitions of controlled substances to include "K-2" or synthetic marijuana, e-cigarettes, serious offenses, and the requirement of designating a "campus behavior coordinator" responsible for communicating with parents and other duties related to student discipline

TASB Region 12 director announced

Because of an early submission of a previous vote, trustees again voted to endorse Mildred Watkins of the La Vega ISD as the representative for Region 12 on the TASB Board of Directors.

Contingency positions approved

At the request of Dr. Diane Frost, CISD superintendent, trustees approved funding three contingency teacher positions to allow for additional teacher hires as needed to meet classroom size limits.

Property Value appeal firm hired

Trustees approved a contract with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP to conduct needed administrative or judicial appeals of property value study findings for the 2015-16 school year. The firm is paid 10 percent of any additional state aid they are able to generate as a result of property value appeals.

Audit engagement letter approved

Trustees approved Anderson, Marx & Bohl P.C. for the annual financial audit of the district's finances. This is year four of a five-year agreement with the firm. The maximum fee for the audit is $20,500, with approximately $775 in additional costs anticipated.

Budget review presented

Trustees heard another report on the 2015-16 budget for the district. General fund revenues are projected at $44,006,873. The district will not suffer a loss in funding if voters approve an increase in the homestead exemption, up for a vote in November. Any loss in income as a result will be made up by the state. CISD taxes will increase 9 cents per $100 assessed valuation this year as a result of the bond package approved in 2014, but a higher homestead exemption, if approved, could offset that for many taxpayers, said Mike Nielsen, assistant superintendent of business.

School Employee Handbook approved

Trustees approved a revised policy manual for district employees incorporating several changes as  mandated by the state.

Appraiser lists/dates approved

Names of approved classroom instructional appraisers for the coming school year were approved as submitted by the administration. Trustees also reviewed a preliminary calendar of dates for the appraisals.

Assistant Principals approved

Following a closed session to discuss personnel, trustees approved the hiring of two new assistant principals. Jennifer Warren was named assistant principal at Fannin Elementary, and J.P. Johnson was named an assistant principal for Collins Middle School.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com

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