Big Spring Schools Overhaul?

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - Thirty four million dollars, that's the ball park figure the Big Spring School Board must use to decide whether or not to call for a bond election in May.
If the school board calls for the bond, it could mean a total re-configuration of Big Spring elementary schools.

"I hope that they'll come walk through our schools to see what our limitations in size and in technology, and facility limitations," said Bauer Magnet Elementary Principal Wenda Christopher.

Bauer was build in 1930, Washington Elementary was built in the 1950's.

"A lot of different ideas have been tossed around, but because of money, you can only do so much," said Christopher.

One idea came from both the TEA and an outside consulting firm, when they both recommended closing Bauer and Washington.

"Our staff does a great job in spite of those campuses, but just to close them down and to open a school for those two campuses doesn't fit into the long range plans of replacing the facilities through the entire district," said Superintendent Mike Downes.

A citizens committee took the advice of both outside sources and aksed the board to think about restructuring the schools by keeping Moss, Marcy, and Kentwood Elementaries to house Kindergarten through first grade.

Then they would open a mega elementary to house second, third, and fourth grades.
"The board has taken all of that information, and has assimilated that into a long term plan for improving our facilities around the district," said Downes.

In the next ten to twenty years there could be another mega elementary built, both schools would then open up as a kindergarten through fifth graders. Sixth graders would go to middle school and the number of transitions the kids have to make during their school years would be cut down.

"The only way to finance that phase one is through a bond," Downes said. The board will have to make the call for the bond between January and March to make the May election.

If the board decides to call for a bond and it passes it will take an estimated two years before the school is built.

The 34 million dollar price tag will also go to pay for science labs at the high school, a long with a new roof.