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PNGISD outlines new campus construction plan, timeline

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District Board of Trustees voted in August to bring a $130 million bond referendum to the November election ballot. Citizens of Port Neches and Groves voted this week to pass that proposal.

The bond includes reducing the current seven-count elementary campuses down to four. Proposing to have one PreK-2 campus and one 3-5 campus in Groves and Port Neches.

PNGISD Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier said planning is set to begin immediately with construction projected to start December 2020.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “This is something that our community and kids needed for a longtime so we are happy to see it move forward. Anytime something involves kids and the future of the community, people want to get involved so it’s good to see that support.”

The first step is meeting with the school district’s project manager from the architectural company Heery International to begin work on the campuses.

“We will start planning and designing the 3-5 grade campuses first,” Gauthier said. “Those will be the first to be built. We’re hoping to have a year of planning and turn the first dirt next December.”

All seven of the elementary campuses in Port Neches and Groves will close permanently after the four new ones are constructed from the ground up.

The PreK-2 campus in Groves will be built at the current Groves Elementary site with the 3-5 campus at the current Groves Education Center Site. Port Neches’ PreK-2 will sit at the current Ridgewood Elementary site and their 3-5 campus at the current Woodcrest Site.

Gauthier said the designing and planning process is going to be completely transparent.

“Our teachers, staff and community members will all be completely involved like they were with the bond proposal meetings,” she said. “This is taxpayers’ dollars. This is their community and their schools. We want to give them the option to have their opinions be presented.”

Gauthier said the bond allows the community to experience numerous benefits such as having safe and secure schools to send their children.

“Our schools are all almost 70 years old so we needed this,” she said. “We will have safe, secure, healthy buildings. Right now we have zero extra classrooms. We are over crowded and some people are teaching out in the hallways. New schools are just always a benefit to the community. This is something that will serve kids for the next 60 years.”

A projected timeline includes completing construction of the two 3-5 campuses by the 2022-2023 school year and opening the PreK-2 campuses the following year.

Gauthier said all bond information and updates will be posted on the Port Neches-Groves ISD website, https://www.pngisd.org/ and anyone looking for more information can email her at gauthier@pngisd.org.