Voting for the Van Alstyne bond election will occur on Saturday, May 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Grayson College in Van Alstyne, with early voting taking place from April 24-28 and May 1-2.


“The (elementary school) design process is 75 percent complete,” Superintendent John Spies said. “We are reviewing the plans, and if the bond passes, we should be prepared to bid the project by early July in order to have the school open by August 2018.”


Though the board members seemed to be in favor of most design aspects of the elementary school construction, concerns were presented at the April 17 board of trustees meeting pertaining to the exterior aesthetics of the building.


“The front of the building is currently being redesigned and could look significantly different than it does now,” Spies said a week after the meeting.


Though the new elementary school is the main focus of the bond, several other projects are slated to be completed with its passage, including renovations to the current elementary school and funds to set aside for future district expansion.


The bond election was publicly discussed several months ago during the Jan. 9 board of trustees meeting, when the board went over the logistics of having the new elementary school gym serve dual functions as a storm shelter.


Spies stated at the meeting that the new storm shelter will be twice the size of the original, costing an extra half million dollars, with the entire gymnasium costing close to a million dollars to complete. The 6,000 square foot storm shelter will be used for the students to congregate together for safety, as well as what could also serve as a shelter area for community members in need.


At the time of the meeting, the school was roughly 85,000 square feet, a number which the board hoped to reduce to as low as 80,000 in order to save money. The school is now planned to be 82,500 square feet, according to the bond website, a number that it easier and more cost effective to work with.


The bond election website explains that the existing elementary school renovations include upgraded hallways, restrooms and administration offices, as well as technology integration and the addition of collaborative spaces. The land acquisition will involve purchasing a minimum of 50 acres to be used for a future high school site as the district continues to expand.


Spies estimated the school upgrades to cost $500,000 and the land purchase to cost $1 million during the January school board meeting.


At the January meeting, Spies additionally stated that a bond should not be issued for more than $24 million for the sake of future bonds. He recommended calling the bond rest between $22-24 million, personally leaning towards the higher end in order to fund side projects.


The 2017 bond package was officially set by the board of trustees for $24 million dollars, the website says.


All bond voting will occur at the South Campus of Grayson College located at 1455 W. Van Alstyne Parkway. The April early voting is going on now and will take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., while all May voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


More information about the bond can be accessed at www.vanalstyneisdbond.com. Residents are additionally encouraged to call the administration building and request to speak to Spies or Assistant Superintendent David Brown if they have additional questions.


In order to vote in the election, citizens must be officially registered to vote by no later than April 6.