Voters To Weigh in on $17M Southside ISD Bond for New Facilities

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A Southside Independent School District bus leaves the recently constructed Menchaca Early Childhood Center.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Southside Independent School District begins the transition back to elected official governing by May 18, 2022.

Southside Independent School District is asking voters to approve a $17 million bond, the district’s second bond proposition in two years. The bond would be dedicated to expanding and renovating facilities for extracurricular activities.

Southside is seeking approval for a small amount compared to other districts’ bond propositions. In the spring, Northside ISD, a district with 100,000 more students than the 5,800 in Southside, passed a $849 million bond with funding for two new elementary schools, one new middle school, and a new high school.

If approved, Southside’s bond would fund a new multipurpose indoor facility that will serve the band, dance and cheer teams, and ROTC; renovate existing locker rooms; and build six new tennis courts at Southside High School. Losoya Middle School’s practice field and Matthey Middle School’s track would get updates, and parking at the high school would be improved.

The bond would allow the district to work in advance of predicted growth in the district spurred by a new TJX Companies distribution center and planned housing developments that are supposed to add roughly 4,000 new homes in the next decade.

“We are being proactive and definitely moving the district forward and making sure we don’t get in the situation where we are trying to play catchup,” Superintendent Mark Eads said. “We don’t want to get in the situation where we are trying to build buildings that are taking 18 months to 24 months.”

Southside ISD Superintendent Mark Eads

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Southside ISD Superintendent Mark Eads

Most of the construction work would be done on the district’s main campus, close to Southside High School. That is where the planned multipurpose facility, tentatively called the Cardinal Center, would be available for students after school hours, giving them Wi-Fi access while they wait for parents to pick them up.

“They can work on homework or just have fun Googling,” Eads said, noting that many district residents don’t have internet access in their homes.

The Cardinal Center also would be available for use during bad weather for team sports or field days. The new building would have a space for visiting teams to shower and dress and an outside walking track.

The construction of the tennis courts would allow Southside to offer the sport to district students. Eads said Southside may be the only 5A district in Texas not to offer tennis.

If approved, the bond will give Matthey Middle School a new weight room and renovate the track and field. Losoya Middle School, which was recently converted to a middle school from a fifth- and sixth-grade campus, would receive a multi-sport physical education practice field.

Southside officials said there will be no increase to the tax rate as a result of the bond. When managers first approved the bond election in late August, they also lowered the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate as a result of increased property values.

District officials predict that with projections of rising property values at 2 percent or more annually, Southside may be able to lower its tax rate each year through 2022.

Early voting runs from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 and election day is Nov. 6.

Southside previously received voter approval in May 2017 on a $59 million bond package that included extensive renovations to Losoya Intermediate, Southside High School, and Matthey Middle School. It also included funds for the new Menchaca Early Childhood Center.

The district looked into placing the projects on the 2018 bond on the ballot as early as 2016, but decided on other priorities instead.

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