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Trustees Approve Facility Improvements

Facility projects in Belton ISD, funded by a May 2022 bond, took another step forward on Monday following the Board of Trustees’ approval of guaranteed maximum prices for the first phases of the renovations and additions.

Three projects are underway to address growth and equitable facilities across the district — an addition to Southwest Elementary, a Fine Arts expansion at Lake Belton Middle School and additions and renovations at Belton High School.

Michael Morgan, assistant superintendent of operations, told the board that splitting the approvals into multiple guaranteed maximum prices (GMP) is all about efficiency.

“We’re fast-tracking these projects in order to have them ready for the start of the 2024-2025 school year,” Morgan said. “Multiple GMPs allow us to keep the project moving and get on top of ordering items that we know can take a long time to be delivered.” 

At Monday’s meeting, trustees approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price of $1,085,116 for site work and utility prep for the addition at Southwest. The board will consider two additional GMPs for additional work on the project in May and June.

Trustees also approved a GMP of $3,552,863 for site work and long-lead items for the Fine Arts expansion at LBMS. A final GMP for all remaining work will be considered in May.

For the additions and renovations at BHS, trustees approved a GMP of $12,423,229 for site work and long-lead items. A final GMP for all remaining work will be considered in May.

“This is an exciting time for Belton ISD,” Morgan said. “The GMP figures approved by the Board of Trustees fits within our bond program budget and work toward meeting the needs of  programs in aging facilities and fulfilling the commitment to our community outlined in the bond program.”

Trustees also approved the hiring of two principals — Fredrick Lilly II at North Belton Middle School and Julee Manley at Burrell Elementary.

Lilly, who is in his ninth year in education, currently serves as the middle school principal in the Camden Fairview School District in Camden, Ark., where he is from. He’s previously served as a teacher, coach and assistant principal. Lilly holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas-Monticello and a master’s degree from Mississippi College. 

Manley, who is in her 21st year in education, currently serves as the principal of Sparta Elementary in Belton ISD. She has also worked as a teacher, campus instructional specialist and assistant principal in surrounding school districts. Manley holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

In other news, trustees heard a demographic report from Zonda Education that highlighted Belton ISD’s continued fast growth, especially compared to other school districts in Region 12. 

Region 12, which includes school districts for Killeen, Temple, Waco and Midway, saw an average year-over-year enrollment increase of 0.9% from the previous school year to now. Belton ISD averaged a 2.4% increase, or an addition of 318 students. Looking at the last five years, Region 12 districts averaged a 1.4% increase while Belton ISD jumped 18.3%.

Demographers will continue to keep a close eye on the area’s housing market, which has continued at a strong pace despite rising interest rates this spring. The district currently has 53 actively building subdivisions with groundwork underway on about 1,939 lots. Fourteen future subdivisions are also within the district.

Belton ISD currently has about 13,300 students, but five-year enrollment projections have the district headed toward 15,580 students. Ten-year projections could top 17,330.

April 17, 2023