Austin voters, in September 2004, approved a five-year, $519.5 million school bond program to alleviate overcrowding, keep up with Austin’s growth, and improve the quality, safety, and sustainability of AISD campuses and facilities. In May 2008, voters approved a four-year, $343.7 million bond program allowing the district to achieve legislative requirements, fund new investments in technology and construct a district-wide performing arts center. Together, the 2004 and 2008 bond programs are known as The Apple at Work Bond Programs.
2004 Bond Program Overview
- New Schools – The 2004 Bond Program included funds for site acquisition and construction of six new elementary schools, two new middle schools and a new bus terminal, and funding for site acquisition for a future middle school in southeast Austin.
- Major Classroom Additions – In addition to new campuses, the 2004 and 2008 bond programs also funded additions at existing campuses including Akins, Lanier, LBJ, and Travis high schools; Dobie, Kealing, and Webb middle schools; and Baranoff, Graham, Houston, Jordan, Kiker, Norman, Palm and Rodriguez elementary schools.
- Athletic Facilities – To support the entire district, the 2004 Bond Program included improvements at Burger Activity Center, House Park and Nelson Field and the construction of a new soccer field.
- Repairs and Renovations – Every AISD campus and facility was impacted by the 2004 Bond Program. Campus repairs and renovations include new roofing and ventilation systems, better site drainage, improved electrical service and lighting, new doors and windows, new classroom furnishings and fixtures, refurbished restrooms and drinking fountains, new water and wastewater lines, construction of covers and upgrades to existing playslabs, and renovated and expanded parking areas.
- Safety and Security – The 2004 Bond Program included $21 million for safety and security systems at every campus, including card reader door access, security cameras and improved lighting. Additionally, AISD ensured all projects are conducted with the utmost concern for the safety of students, staff, teachers and construction personnel. The district’s safety consultants worked with contractors and subcontractors to develop, review, implement, and monitor safety plans and procedures.
- Sustainability – The 2004 Bond Program included $13 million for the purchase of low-emission school buses that improve the performance of AISD’s transportation fleet, while helping Austin maintain good air quality. In addition, AISD committed funds in each construction project specifically for environmental and energy-saving measures. All new school buildings and additions achieved a minimum two-star rating in Austin Energy’s Green Building Program, and green building elements were also incorporated into major renovations and retrofits. Landscaping incorporated native, low-water-use plants and trees, and the district uses renewable energy (through Austin Energy’s Green Choice program) for 15 percent of its energy requirements.
- Equity – The 2004 Bond Program affected every student and family in the district, with projects at every one of the district’s facilities. Rapid growth in student populations served by schools in the north, southeast, and southwest led to overcrowding that was addressed with new schools and major additions and expansions. Ongoing instructional initiatives to improve educational outcomes was also supported by investments made by the 2004 Bond Program. The program works to ensure functional equity among campuses by bringing its facilities to a new, common standard of excellence. These projects included library expansions, playslab upgrades and covers, improved lighting and acoustics, and enhanced science labs and art rooms throughout the district.
2008 Bond Program Overview
- New Schools – The 2008 Bond Program included funds for land acquisition and construction of a new elementary school, land acquisition and construction of a new early childhood center serving southeast Austin and land acquisition for a future high school in south Austin.
- Classroom Additions – Funds were included for classroom additions at Barrington, Hart and Langford elementary schools and a classroom addition at Anderson High School, which includes four new science labs.
- Science Labs and Classrooms – In order to meet new state mandates for science curriculum, the 2008 Bond Program included funds for the construction of new high school science labs and classrooms across the district.
- Technology Upgrades – The 2008 Bond Program included funds for technology services and resources to ensure equity throughout the district, support the core curriculum, and provide updated administrative and information tools.
- Repairs and Renovations – The 2008 Bond Program included funds to renovate or replace the auditoriums at Crockett, Lanier and McCallum high schools and the fine arts wing at Anderson High School. The program also provided funding for critical renovations — including roofing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, restrooms, accessibility improvements, site and transportation improvements, and kitchen renovations — at dozens of campuses. Many of these renovations were required by new building and health codes. Other renovations helped the district maintain current facilities and avoid the need for much more costly construction projects in the future.
- District-wide Performing Arts Center – The 2008 Bond Program provided funding for land acquisition and construction of a performing arts center that will serve students throughout the district.
- Sustainability – The 2008 Bond Program included funding for the purchase of additional low-emission school buses. All new school buildings and additions achieve a minimum two-star rating in Austin Energy’s Green Building Program. Green building elements were also incorporated into major renovations and retrofits.
- Investment Upgrades – Funding was also included for the replacement of the district’s cold-storage warehouse, installation of the district’s first-ever computerized payroll system, and installation of new electrical equipment to help improve management of power demands across the district.