Despite recent rains and cold weather, two new elementary schools currently under construction in the Robstown Independent School District are on schedule to be completed in March.
Raymond Gignac, the district's architect, said work has been proceeding steadily, having seen only minor delays because of recent wet weather.
"We don't know of any catastrophes at the (worksites), but right now, they are on schedule to be completed in March," he said.
The RISD held groundbreaking ceremonies at the locations of two new elementary schools in early January, two weeks after demolition began on the old facilities.
The school board had approved the sale of the $15.5 million bonds approved by voters to build the new Lotspeich and San Pedro elementary schools in November 2008. The 32-year bonds were sold on the market at a rate of 5.724 percent, which will bring an estimated increase of 11.64 cents to the district's interest and sinking fund tax rate.
In that same meeting, the board also approved the naming of Ewing Construction as the contractor for the construction of the two new elementary schools, which are both about 60,000 square feet in size.
They both have an estimated and combined cost of $14.7 million, Gignac said, and the architect is also working on a $1.6 million science lab addition to Robstown High School, which is being paid for with grant funds. That facility is scheduled to be completed in early May, he added.
Trustee Osvaldo Romero on Monday said he was happy to see work on the two school proceeding on schedule.
"I've always believed that any improvements, like a new building, can enhance a neighborhood as a whole," he said.
Romero did, however, repeat concerns he brought up at a previous school board meeting about plans for the new science lab addition not including restroom facilities for students. Rogelio Hernandez, with Raymond Gignac and Associates, informed the board existing restrooms were not too far from the labs and new facilities were not really necessary and would likely add about $100,000 to the project's cost. The board has since asked for the bathrooms to be built.
"Here is a $1.6 million building without any bathrooms. How do you like them apples?" Romero said. "I blame myself and the board for not being more vigilant and ensuring those restrooms would be included. I guess we just all took it for granted that they would be included and, when they weren't, it just kind of surprised us all."
Hernandez said the foundation for the science lab project has been poured, while interior walls, windows and the first coat of paint are up at the elementary schools. Flooring and carpet has not beein installed as of yet, he added, because the air conditioning is not up and running. The air conditioning system is scheduled to be installed by next week.