Alvarado ISD trustees overcame another hurdle in building a new Alvarado Junior High School on Monday when they unanimously voted to hold a $38.2 million May 11 bond election.
If voters approve the bond, funds will be used to build the new junior high and finish out half of an upstairs area at Alvarado High School for career and technology classes.
“We cannot tell people to vote ‘yes,’” Superintendent Chester Juroska said. “But we can tell them the reasons that are factual of why we are asking for a new junior high. Everything I’ve heard is positive. I’m not naive enough to think 100 percent will be in favor of it; I’m sure I’ve yet to hear from those people.”
This is the second time AISD has called for a bond election in recent years. The first bond request — $44 million — was voted down in late 2010. That money would have, among other things, funded the new junior high and a parking lot for the football stadium.
Juroska said the district is past the point of simply dealing with the junior high’s problems and hazards.
The building is nearly 50 years old and contains various levels of asbestos in multiple areas. Carpeting, instead of being torn up and replaced as needed, has to be taped down so as not to disturb the underlying asbestos, which is harmful if disturbed. Other types of repairs are also advised against. Teachers are asked not to staple items to the walls.
While asbestos was a common building material decades ago because it is fire retardant, it is no longer used because of its health hazards, such as a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.
As Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Estes said last week at an Alvarado Chamber of Commerce meeting, the school is nicknamed “Old Stinky” thanks to skunks and rodents.