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Nederland ISD outlines elementary renovation design, upgrades & other district goals

NEDERLAND — Education leaders should receive final design plans and a complete budget in August for renovation of all four Nederland Independent School District elementary campuses.

The proposals, which are expected to be approved, would lead to renovation starts at the Helena Park and Langham campuses by October.

Renovation starts for Highland Park and Hillcrest elementarys would follow, according to Superintendent Dr. Stuart Kieschnick, to space out the work and, hopefully, create more competitive bidding.

Keeping renovations and upgrades for the elementary campuses within the $49.1 million budget approved by voters is an important step in this summer’s design completion.

“(Our construction partners) are working together to look at the scope of the elementarys to make sure we can flesh out any work that would be excessive and use every ounce of dollars to get what we promised the voters,” Kieschnick said.

“We’re taking a harder look at the elementary schools because we are later in the process. The global pandemic has affected so much of the supply chain and the prices of building materials. There may not be some bells and whistles we want, but we will deliver what we promised the voters. But we have to look at it from a tighter point of view.”

Some of the elementary upgrades include:

  • Additional classroom space for music, science labs and individual learning
  • Renovated restrooms
  • ADA modifications
  • Expansion of gym, cafeteria and kitchen

NISD’s construction partners are reporting the costs of metal, wood and PVC are as much as three times higher than when the scope of work was discussed in 2018.

A shortage of material and manpower is also causing slowdowns with factories and material delivery.

Nederland Board of Trustees President Nicholas Phillips said the school board is very confident all upgrades approved by voters for the elementary campuses, middle schools and football field would be realized, as well as the news construction of Nederland High School.

Phillips said communication between architectural firm IBI, construction supervisor H.B. Neild & Sons and the school district is at an all-time high.

“We’re having good conversations and are all on the same page,” he said. “The planning part took a lot of time to make sure we have the right plan. Now it is exciting to see the dirt being moved (across the district). It is exciting to see when you drive by they are out there and getting the site prepped.”

All elementary school construction is scheduled to finish by the summer of 2023.

High school

Kieschnick said dirt work for a new high school is coming along nicely and detention ponds are built with the project on schedule and budget.

The timeline calls for the close of 2021 to include a poured slab, installation of underground utilities and the beginning of steel erection.

Construction is scheduled to finish in July of 2023, which allows the new high school to begin serving students during the 2023-24 academic year.

Final design will include 280,000 square feet over two floors for a fully functioning school designed to service 1,700 students in ninth through 12th grades.

Middle school & football stadium

Voters approved $11.1 million to upgrade Central and C.O. middle schools.

Schematic design for preliminary scope work is taking place for both campuses.

Planned upgrades target furniture and equipment, restrooms, science labs, parking, office space and ADA updates.

Following renovations, fifth grades students will move from the middle schools and back into the elementary schools.

Phase 2 of the construction at Bulldog Stadium is underway and scheduled for completion in August. Phase 2 includes the entryway, ticket booth, restrooms and flatwork.

“NISD will continue to be one of the No. 1 school districts in the area,” Phillips said. “Districts across the state have seen a little bit of a drop in enrollment with kids staying virtual or moving around. I fully anticipate our enrollment going up, and having these new facilities will make Nederland more attractive.”

The Nederland Independent School District educates approximately 4,900 students between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade. There are approximately 1,550 high school students.

The district employs 650 people with 400 serving as teachers.

Kieschnick said he anticipates a jump to 5,200 students when enrollment is finalized for 2021-22.

NISD will not offer a virtual component next academic year.