• 70°

Port Neches-Groves ISD takes first steps on bond project

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District passed a $130 million bond to reconstruct the scheme of the elementary school campuses during the Nov. 5 election.

PNG administrators met with the project manager from CBRE Heery this week to discuss the first step towards mobilizing the funds.

Port Neches-Groves Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier said the first step with the project manager is to put out a request for qualification to look for an architect.

“That’s the first person we’re going to hire with that we will begin the designing and planning of the schools,” Gauthier said. “We are hoping to hire the architect at the January board meeting.”

Gauthier said between November and January the district and project manager are planning to have their request for quotation, interview and hiring process done.

“The project manager takes the calls,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people reach out and want to work with the district, so that’s good. We’ll have a lot of options, so we’re excited about that.”

Gauthier said the next biggest focus is finding where to house prekindergarten students during the transitional period.

“We have six to seven teachers with kids that they serve and we’re looking for a location to put them in for the next three years so we don’t have to move them from place to place,” she said. “Pre-K has generally been by itself here, and we are going to move it to the Pre-K-2 campus. We’d love to move them to a campus now but we are overcrowded. We have zero extra classrooms anywhere, so we’re looking to have a partnership with a local church that has a Sunday school set up or something like that.”

The district is also concentrating on sticking to its timeline, which is measured by school years.

The district is hoping to break ground on their grades 3-5 campuses by December 2020 and have all campuses under construction by 2022. A projected timeline shows that students will begin transitioning into new campuses between 2022 and 2024.

Another major item on the to-do list is picking names for the four new campuses. Gauthier said they are taking public suggestions.

“Something is going to hit us and it’s going to be perfect,” she said. “We’re trying to keep the names of the demoed schools like Taft and Ridgewood, but it gets convoluted. We’ve also looked at Groves Primary and Groves Elementary, which feeds into Groves Middle School and then Port Neches-Groves High School.”

Gauthier said while they wait for an architect to be hired, the district will begin putting together a teacher and administration group to canvas other school campuses for ideas.

“These buildings are 70 years old, so we’ve never taught at any other schools,” she said. “We don’t even know what the other possibilities are.”

Gauthier said the next couple months will consist of preliminary planning, filling out paperwork, gathering ideas and nailing the timeline. Port Neches-Groves ISD will give updates at their monthly board meetings on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m.

Information will also be posted to pngisd.org.