TYLER — A Tyler business owner and committee member is in favor of changing the names of Robert E Lee High School and John Tyler High school.

John Franzen said the estimated $1,000,000 per campus to rename them doesn't add up.

"Anybody who feels the board should act, at least make it official. Put it on record," Franzen said.

He is a member of the oversight committee for the rebuilding of the Tyler ISD high schools.

At a meeting last week, the school board said it would cost between $1.2 million and $1.6 million per campus to rename them.

Franzen said he doesn't believe that's possible.

"To physically build the schools, to tear down the old schools, re-build them up, parking lot, concrete, burying a river, is costing $200 million," Franzen said. "Anyone who says $1.6 million dollars is lying."

Here's the breakdown from the board:

  • Athletics equipment, cloth, logos, branding and miscellaneous will cost approximately $250,000 per campus.
  • Visual and performing arts equipment, cloth, logos, branding and miscellaneous will cost about $300,000 per campus.
  • Facilities with the new construction would cost a high of $685,000.
  • Existing facilities would be a minimum of $28,000.

That brings the grand total to just over $1.2 million, plus an additional $3,000 per sign for an unknown number of remaining signs that have to be replaced.

The breakdown offers several ways the costs can be reduced, but doesn't go into detail of how much that reduction would be.

Some of those options include phasing in the renaming, replacing uniforms at their normal cycles and passing uniforms down to sub-varsities.

Franzen said phasing in the renaming would be the smartest choice financially.

"There would be no need to change anything other than the branding of the schools, and that could be done right now in the planning process," Franzen said.

He also recommended reaching out to any board members you know to share your opinions with them.

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