$52.5 million bond passes

Julia Rasor

The discussion for the new Eanes bond began around October of 2014, but it wasn’t until a couple months later that the board approved the bond proposals in February of 2015. Then on May 9, Eanes taxpayers approved the $52.5 million bond with a 65 percent voting.

The funding of the bond will be divided among four different sections. These include $10.1 million for technology, $26.5 million for facilities, $4.7 million for non-facilities and $12.7 million for construction.

Current facilities will be renovated and repurposed. One main expenditure involved with the bond is the relocation of engineering and robotics. The robotics team’s activities will possibly be moved across Westlake into the building where maintenance and operations take place. With the new specifications of the bond, robotics and engineering will be provided with the resources they require.

“[Robotics] needs a space they can pull a truck into,” superintendent Dr. Thomas Leonard said.  “Some of these robots are big, and they want doors that can open up, and they also want a classroom-type situation.”

As a replacement, HOSA will be taking over the old space robotics and engineering previously occupied. This gives the members a more suitable environment to hold their meetings.

Additional changes for both facilities and non-facilities at Westlake will take place. This includes upgrades in the Performing Arts Center.

The PAC will experience revisions of its video projectors, upgrades in production technology, replacement and renewal of lighting and the improvement of technical systems during emergency measures.

There will be improvements around the school that will involve both students and staff members. This includes the addition of optional spaces in the Ben Hur lot that will improve the parking situation at Westlake.

Also provided in the new bond are some upgrades that will affect the students on a smaller scale. This includes new uniforms for the band members at Westlake, the replacement of the school’s sousaphones and the renewal of the both the stadium and the practice fields.

“The cushion [of the sports fields] is not able to hold as well as we would like it to,” Dr. Leonard said. “That then gives the potential for more injuries and turf burn. So getting that fixed will be of value.”

Technology will also come into play at Westlake. Tablets and Macbook Airs might replace aging iPads. The air conditioning and heating systems will be modified. Staff technology will be improved, and networking and other classroom tools will be upgraded.

Furthermore, the new bond is not expected to affect the current tax rate, so the Eanes district will not have to suffer any debt penalties. All schools in the district will benefit from the bond and provide a better learning environment for the students.