Early Voting is underway for the Conroe ISD bond referendum

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By Beth O’Brien, reporting for Bluebonnet News of Montgomery County

Voters in Conroe ISD will decide on two separate propositions in the Nov. 5 election. Early voting for the election began on Monday, Oct. 21, and continues through Friday, Nov. 1.

“Proposition A is $653.57 million, and that consists primarily of new school construction as well as major renovations and additions to our current schools,” CISD Superintendent Dr. Curtis Null said. “There’s also funding in there for safety and security for all of the buildings in Conroe ISD, as well as new buses, technology infrastructure and future land purchases as well.”

Funding for Proposition B is $23.8 million and, if approved, will be used for artificial turf at the District’s high school athletic facilities.

“The main game field, which would be the football, soccer, drill team, band field, as well as softball and baseball at the district’s high schools,” Null explained. “Grand Oaks High School is our newest high school. It was built with turf, so this would be bringing the existing high schools up to that same standard of the newest high school.”

Null explained more about what’s involved with Proposition A.

“There are five new campuses included in Proposition A, four elementary schools and one junior high in our fastest-growing areas of the school district,” Null said.

Proposition A also includes campus renovations.

“The largest one being Conroe High School,” Null said. “It is our oldest high school facility in the district. It is currently made up of six separate buildings, and it has over 100 entrances in and out of those six buildings.”

This is a proposed future land site that is part of the November 2019 Conroe ISD Bond Referendum. Picture courtesy of Conroe ISD.

Conroe High School was built in the early 1960s.

“This renovation would bring that whole building under one roof. It would actually also, if you’re familiar with Conroe High School, flip the front door from Highway 105. When Conroe High School was built, I wasn’t here, but I’ve heard the stories about how people talked about why did they build the school in the middle of the country, because 105 was a two-lane road and it was in the country,” Null said. “[Highway] 105 is now a seven-lane road as it goes in front of Conroe High School, so we would actually move the front door back to the back side of the building where Wilson Road currently is to try to bring some traffic off of 105 to the back of the building.”

Another big proposed renovation involves Oak Ridge High School, the district’s second oldest high school, which was built in the 1980s.

“It would basically be a mechanical renovation at Oak Ridge that’s included – about $50 million dollars,” Null said.

Proposition A also includes multiple campuses receiving new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems and roofs for those that have aged out.

“Additionally, we have two intermediate schools that would receive PE classroom and gym facilities,” Null said. “Two of our intermediates don’t have those, and so this would be bringing them up with our other intermediate schools.”

Null explained more about the artificial turf project that’s in Proposition B.

“We do have turf right now at our two district stadiums. This would be bringing turf to the campus level. There are operational costs and savings associated with turf over grass. Over time, that savings increases. The most significant plus side to turf over grass is usage rate,” Null said. “We cancel many games because of rain-outs. This morning we see rain and a soaked field. Although it may be beautiful this afternoon, the playing surface may not be adequate for a Monday afternoon junior high football game whereas our turf fields will be dry by this afternoon.”

Artificial turf is the main part of Proposition B in the November Conroe ISD Bond Referendum. Picture courtesy of Conroe ISD.

The Woodlands Township converted a lot of their fields to turf a few years ago, according to Null.

“The feedback that we receive from them is they definitely see operational savings from water, chemicals and the manpower that it takes to maintain a grass field, but they speak about usage rate over and over,” Null said. “You get much more use out of the fields.”

This is the District’s second attempt to pass a bond referendum this year. The first failed in May. When asked if he is confident of the referendum’s chances this go-round, Null said he wants voters to turn out and make their wishes known during the Nov. 5 election.

“I don’t know that I’m confident or not confident, one way or the other. I think the voters will be heard. Where I’m hopeful is that the voters will show up and vote,” Null said. “Our goal has been to try and educate the community, get the information in front of voters, and hopefully inspire them to go vote and let their voices be heard.”

In the May election, only 8 percent of registered voters in Conroe ISD voted.

“We’ve made it our mission this time to try to be better educators and get the word out, and hopefully we will see a larger turnout at the polls.”

For more information about the Conroe ISD Bond referendum, log onto: https://www.conroeisd.net/

Election Day for the CISD Bond Referendum and other items for Montgomery County’s Joint Election is Nov. 5.

For more information on the Joint Election, such as polling places, dates and hours, log onto:

https://elections.mctx.org/

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