By Geena Martinez
MIDLAND/ODESSA - It was a big night for local school districts at the polls. Now both Midland I.S.D. and Ector County I.S.D. will be making changes to their schools, all thanks to the community.
Voters passed multi-million dollar bond proposals in both cities during Tuesday night's election.
Voters in Midland and Odessa made it clear at the polls that the future of our children is a top priority to the community.
"That sort of validates the work and gives the energy and the pizzazz to move forward," ECISD Superintendent, Hector Mendez said.
Now officials are looking ahead to make their visions a reality.
ECISD will be adding three new elementary schools. Two of them will be in West Odessa.
Mendez said they're looking West of Loop 338 and North of 16th Street.
"25% to 26% of our student population resides in that area and we only have two campuses and over 3,000 students so that's gonna be very beneficial," Mendez said.
The district will be moving to a middle school model. This means kindergarten through 5th grade will be in elementary school, grades sixth through eighth in middle school and grades nine through 12 in high school.
Permian and Odessa High will be expanded to fit the need.
"The space is there but obviously we're gonna have to build up," Mendez said. "Odessa High School will require additional land acquisition."
Mendez said they want the projects to be finished and doors open by August 2014.
Over in Midland, the school district will add technology and make other improvements to their 24 elementary schools.
"That ranges from adding classroom space to some of them, that goes to maintenance issues, wiring, plumbing," Superintendent, Dr. Ryder Warren, said.
MISD will also be getting three new elementary schools.
"South somewhere between Grande Stadium and Business 80 and then somewhere northwest of the community," Warren said. "We'll build an 800 student school at the current Bunche site."
Warren hopes for their additions to be finished within the next two and half to three years.
Now that it's been approved, both men said the bond is only one piece of the puzzle.
"We've gotta get the best teachers, we've gotta get the best programs," Warren said. "We have to make changes in Austin, we have to have a Midland voice in Austin, in the legislature."
But they said the bond is about the community and they will do whatever it takes to make sure their voices are heard.
"Now we've got to work to make sure that we bring this in to them exactly what they've approved, on time, within budget to be able to earn their trust again," Warren said.
Both superintendents say the next step is working with demographers and looking for architects and contractors to get the projects started.