Committee: PN-G needs new elementary schools

Published 9:43 pm Monday, September 14, 2015

GROVES — Residents in Port Neches-Groves Independent School District may see a bond election in their future to construct four new elementary schools.

During Monday’s school board meeting Scott Bartlett and Matt Marchak, members of a facility committee tasked with assessing the districts elementary schools, explained the process to the recommendation came from last year’s demographic study and facility study, tax rate analysis and tours of the facilities.

What they saw was aging schools; the oldest built in 1948 and the youngest in 1965. The schools had security issues as well as failing infrastructure such as leaky roofs, old heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, mostly original plumbing and electrical problems.

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Bartlett and Marchak praised the district’s maintenance personnel for their tireless work but new schools are needed. A costs analysis showed it is not cost efficient to simply repair the problems.

“I hadn’t been to some of the schools in the district before, Marchak, a PN-G graduate and resident, said. He was shocked by what he saw. “Kind of like the Wizard of Oz, you pull the curtain back and see all the secrets.”

The secrets he referred to was the above mentioned facility problems.

The district currently has six elementary schools divided in the Port Neches and Groves communities. West Groves Early Learning Center houses Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities and pre-kindergarten; Ridgewood, Taft, Van Buren and Woodcrest house kindergarten through third grades and Groves and Port Neches elementary schools house fourth and fifth grades.

Bartlett said the committee looked at every grade configuration option and the decision to go to four elementary schools was unanimous.

While the cost of four new schools isn’t set in stone, the committee gave a conservative ball park figure of $130 million. “People will wonder ‘what’s it going to cost me?’ If we go forward, a $300,000 home would see about $200 extra a year in taxes,” Marchak said. “Would you pay $200 a year so your kids can go to a school without a leaky roof.”


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