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Henderson ISD to make third attempt to build new middle school

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HENDERSON (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Henderson ISD might make a third attempt at building a new middle school.

Board members tonight will receive information from the district's architect and financial advisor, but a May bond election would not be called until later this month, said Stacey Sullivan, director of human resources and communication.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 tonight in the board room, 200 N. High St.

Superintendent Keith Boles said the district is still waiting to get more information, but preliminary numbers indicate that taxes would increase about 9 cents if there was a bond election and the issue passed.

The district plans to incorporate three older middle school buildings, including the band hall and sixth-grade wing, into a new middle school on the site of the current facility.

Ms. Sullivan said safety is a big concern at Henderson Middle School because there are nine separate buildings and 44 entrances.

"There's no way to keep our students from going building to building," she said. "They have to go in between buildings while changing classes."

The age of the building also is a concern, she said, citing foundation issues, two classrooms no longer are deemed safe and less than adequate technology infrastructure.

She noted that Henderson High School has advanced technology as well as a Bring Your Own Device program, which allows students to use electronic devices, such as tablets, cellphones and laptops in classrooms with teacher permission. However, the district cannot do the same at the current middle school, Ms. Sullivan said.

Additionally, she said classroom sizes at the middle school are not in line with Texas Education Agency standards, and the school is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

This would be the third time that a new middle school has gone before the public.

In 2011, voters narrowly defeated a $26 million bond that would have funded a middle school.

Before that bond, a $39.2 million bond failed in November 2010 that would have funded a middle school, renovations and additions at Northside Intermediate School, an auditorium at Henderson High School and artificial turf at Lions Stadium.

"The needs haven't changed. The needs we had back in 2011 are still there. The building has served us well, but now it's ... in constant need of repair," Boles said.

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