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$10M Douglass ISD bond would fund high school classroom addition, new gym

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 3:45 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A proposed $10 million bond for Douglass ISD will be on the November ballot, and passing it would mean funding for additional high school classrooms and a new gymnasium.

However, the bond’s fate is in question as voters have twice in the last six years turned down school bond proposals.

The newest superintendent, Justin Keeling explains the latest effort.

“You see it says Douglass High School,” said Keeling while pointing to the entrance to Douglass High School. It’s hidden from the public’s view by a 1942 building. The old high school.

“We have some buildings here that have a great sentimental value and I think that’s a great part of our community,” expressed Kelling.

Right now the building sets vacant. Air quality studies deem the building unsafe. The pecan wooden floors shine, but structural issues throughout are apparent.

Keeling pulls back carpet in what was once the front office. The floor is falling in.

“It’s deteriorated over some time,” said Keeling over a gaping hole.

A 20-member community advisory committee reported it will take $3-million to make repairs to the 80 year old building.

A $10 million bond proposal, with an additional $2-million from the district’s reserve fund is presented to voters. The building will come down, exposing the high school entrance. And make way for additions, says Keeling.

“Right now we’re hoping to add nine classrooms as well as a multi-purpose facility gymnasium/auditorium,” said Keeling.

Taxes would go up from a very low .93 to about $1.20 per $100-valuation. Still giving Douglass the lowest tax rate among seven neighboring districts.

And if the bond passes, homage to the past can happen again, as accomplished in the high school’s foyer.

“See this rock from the old building? The ceiling up there. That’s the floor,” said Keeling.

After six months of research, community exchange and school hall meetings, Keeling places the future for Douglass school children with the community.

Early voting began Tuesday. A polling spot in Douglass will open Wednesday.

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