Amber-Pocasset bond to fund security improvements, new building

The Amber-Pocasset School District will have an impressive $23,490,000 proposition on the Feb. 12 ballot. 

The funds will go towards the construction of a new building for junior and high school students as well as extensive improvements to security. 

Jerime Parker, Amber-Pocasset Schools Superintendent, said the school district is able to request a multimillion dollar bond thanks to the growth of the oil and gas industry in the Amber-Pocasset area. The bond is based on property values. About 70 percent of the bond will be paid by companies that have businesses within the district. One gas plant may fund as much as 34 percent of the bond, Parker said.

However, the impact on local residents should be minimal, at about 8 percent. This means residents may pay about $8 per $100 in property values per year.

The improvements to security will be the main focus, Parker said. Both elementary as well as junior and high school campuses will be equipped with surveillance systems, controlled access entry points, one touch emergency lockdown procedure, immediate notification to local and county law enforcement as well as law enforcement access to the video surveillance system. 

The elementary school has recently undergone improvements to its construction, making the campus ready for security upgrades. However, the current building for junior and high school students has several security issues including 11 unsecured entry points, Parker said.

The new building for junior and high school students will feature a designated entry point that will be monitored and controlled by staff. 

The new building will be built on the site of the current building and construction will take place in phases. The new building will retain some features of the old building including the landmark dome gym, auditorium and cafeteria. 

The junior and high school building will include STEM and technology education classrooms as well as classrooms for fine arts, band and music. 

"We're really excited about this opportunity for our students," Parker said. 

If the bond passes, construction may begin as early as Fall 2019 and the projected timeline for the project is two years. 

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