The Robinson Independent School District is asking voters to approve a $31.5 million bond issue May 4, five years after voters passed a bond issue to build a new intermediate school.

This time, the school district of about 2,350 students is working toward a major overhaul of its multi-building junior high school campus, erected in the late 1960s, that serves students in seventh and eighth grades, school board President Laura Crawford said. The plan includes significant new construction, demolition of a classroom wing and renovation and repurposing of original buildings that will remain. The bond also would pay for expansion of the high school agricultural facility.

In 2014, Robinson ISD’s $19.5 million bond issue to replace the 50-year-old intermediate school for grades four through six passed by 19 votes, according to Tribune-Herald archives. That successful bond election came after two failed ones in 2011 and 2013.

The proposed 2019 bond issue would add about $303 per year in property taxes to the average home, valued at $187,095, in the Robinson ISD taxing zone, according to the bond issue website.

“This is an investment in our children’s futures,” Crawford said. “Yes, it’s going to hit our pocketbooks for a little while, but if we wait five years we would see construction costs go up. Let’s do this now, while it’s not as expensive.”

Crawford said construction costs have doubled since 2014 and she cannot imagine how much more they would increase in another five years. The school district is paying off two other bond series — one for the high school and primary school that will be paid off in 2024 and the intermediate school bond that will be paid off in 2039.

The 50-year-old junior high school is not equipped for class in the 21st century, with few electrical outlets in classrooms and limited capability for learning tools like laptops and overhead projectors, Crawford said. In addition to being more technologically friendly, the overhauled junior high would be more secure.

The campus has multiple buildings that students must travel between when switching classes or going to lunch, and the bond would enclose all corridors to keep students under one roof. It also would build a new entrance and front offices that would allow the school to ensure all visitors check in.

Crawford said the current classroom building would remain in use while its two-story replacement is built. The old classroom building would be demolished after the new one is ready. Renovations to other buildings, including the library and science wing, can be done while students are in class.

The new buildings would be designed to be expanded as the district grows. The new school would be able to house about 500 students. About 58 percent of the $31.5 million bond would go toward new construction, while the rest would be dedicated to renovations, according to the bond issue website.

“We’re not looking to build a Taj Mahal by any means,” Crawford said. “When you have nice schools, people want to come, which increases the tax base, which decreases taxes.”

Robinson ISD enrollment

2017-2018: 2,349

2016-2017: 2,300

2015-2016: 2,289

2014-2015: 2,316

2013-2014: 2,269

2012-2013: 2,244

2011-2012: 2,206

2010-2011: 2,135

2009-2010: 2,157

2008-2009: 2,190

Source: Texas Education Agency

Polling places

Early voting will continue from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at the following locations:

  • Robinson Community Center, 106 W. Lyndale Drive
  • McLennan County Elections Administration Office Records Building, 214 N. Fourth St., Suite 300, Waco
  • First Assembly of God Church, 6701 Bosque Blvd., Waco
  • Crawford High School, 200 Pirate Drive
  • Bellmead City Hall, 3015 Bellmead Drive.

On Election Day, May 4, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Robinson Community Center, 106 W. Lyndale Drive
  • Bellmead Civic Center, 3900 Parrish St.
  • Chalk Bluff Baptist Church, 5993 Gholson Road, Waco
  • Crawford High School, 200 Pirate Drive
  • First Assembly of God Church, 6701 Bosque Blvd. Waco
  • Hewitt Public Safety Facility, 100 Patriot Court
  • Lorena First Baptist Church, 307 E. Center St.
  • Mart Community Center, 804 E. Bowie Ave.
  • Woodway City Hall, 922 Estates Drive.

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Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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