The Alvarado Chamber of Commerce hosted Precinct 3 Commissioner Jerry Stringer and Alvarado ISD Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Estes at its Thursday luncheon.
Stringer discussed plans for the new sub-courthouse, while Estes discussed AISD’s proposed bond election.
“When I first ran for office four or five years ago, I learned there was a need for a new sub-courthouse in Alvarado,” Stringer said. “I do believe in Alvarado and want to see Alvarado grow. This sub-courthouse can also serve areas of Precinct 4, without them having to drive to Cleburne or Burleson.”
Alvarado recently sold Johnson County a piece of property where the construction will take place. On Jan. 1, the county took possession of the land and immediately went to work on plans.
“Our goal was to have everybody [who will work here] have a say,” Stringer said. “They designed this.”
Now is the best time to build, Stringer added, because construction prices are low with many people looking for work. Stringer said there are empty rooms planned, which he expects to fill with a veterans’ services or additional clerk offices, making the building usable for decades.
The building will also have state-of-the-art security updates, including a metal detector outside of the courtroom and a sectioned-off secured area not accessible by the public.
“We are very proud of what it’s going to be,” Stringer said. “My goal is to have it done by Christmas.”
Construction bids are expected to go out soon, he said.
AISD junior high plans
Estes said that although children receive a great education in AISD, Alvarado Junior High School must go.
At nearly 50 years old, the school has a host of problems including asbestos, animals moving in and a lack of space. He demonstrated some of the problems with a photo slideshow.
“Our kids at the junior high have to go outside for athletics, choir and band, he said. “There is asbestos under the carpet, in walls and insulation. The cost of renewing the junior high ... would be close to the cost of a new junior high itself.
“Should our children have to go to a school that has to use duct tape to keep the carpet from rolling up and exposing hazardous materials?”
Cost to remodel the school would be nearly $30 million, while the cost for a new campus is expected to be about $36 million.
“Unfortunately, that building has a nickname,” Estes said. “They call it ‘Old Stinky.’ ... It harbors skunks. Some of the parents showed up for a tour and sure enough the skunks had visited the night before.”
While many attendees giggled at the thought, they nodded in agreement with Estes’ argument for a successful bond election.
Chamber member Ginger Patterson said her two junior high students complain about the campus’ condition on a daily basis, despite the excellent education they receive there. Her children have allergies and asthma, which are exacerbated by the aging building, she said.
“My kids have teachers who say, ‘Do not wear cologne because I already have enough allergies with the building deteriorating,” she said, adding, “there is a mouse problem, too.”
Estes answered, “I think the snake got the [mouse].”
The AISD board of trustees meets at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss calling for the bond election which will take place May 11 if called.