Breaking Bond: AISD to pass bond for renovations of Ann Richards


Alexandra Lopez

Holes in the Ann Richards’ track seen during a STEM class in early May. Photo by Alexandra Lopez.

7:30 A.M. Athletes on the track team sprint on the compressed track, ignoring how it stains their shoe soles red and avoiding the places with gaps of missing rubber.

8:30 A.M. Students work on projects before school and are used to dismissing the sound of mice in the cork board overhead.

12:19 P.M. Middle-School Students cram themselves into the school cafetorium, having to resort to eating on the stage for a place to sit.  High-schoolers squeeze into stairwells and hallways to try and find a place to sit.

2:30 P.M. Faculty move classes to the library or courtyard to escape the heat that comes from the broken AC units in their classrooms.

6:30 P.M. Volunteers wedge folding chairs around and in front of the cafeteria tables in attempt to fit the guests that are coming for a performance into the small space.

AISD will potentially pass a bond that will allow multiple schools in the district including Ann Richards- to renovate and improve their buildings for safer and more compatible learning environments.

“We need a space that reflects our mission and that reflects our community,” Liz Schnautz said. “I think the performing arts center and updated P.E. and sports facilities are really needed because so many students are involved in that.”

The Ann Richards School currently has one of the lowest campus scores in AISD, with an 47% unsatisfactory rating from a survey of the overall educational sustainability.

“I think it would be nice for the bond to pass to help renovate the school because the school [has] been here since Porter was a middle school in the fifties, which is almost 70 years,” Maddy Schell (11) said. “We’re also a middle and high school so we’re fitting a lot of students into a small space.”

If the bond were to pass, more than just safety issues would be addressed. The fund would also be used to improve fine art and sports facilities.

“[I would like to see] modernization. It would be nice to have an actual auditorium so we don’t have to perform off campus,” Schell said. “A track would definitely be a big thing to fix since there’s like chunks of it missing and it’s like half the size of [other school’s] tracks. Our track team is doing really well, and I feel like if we had a real track then they would do even better.”

Currently, architects are just working on concepts and creating general ideas for what the school will look like, but once the plans are brought to the district, the facility will ask for opinions of students, parents, and teachers.

“We need a school that everyone is excited about,” Tatiana Wiersema, the middle school principal, said. “We’re going to need a lot of input. In almost every grade level there will be a project focusing on some aspect of the redesign. We’ve talked to the teachers about how they might use [the redesign] as a project so we can get input from them too.”

The bond would renovate each portion of the school individually, forcing classes to relocate or combine.

“It’s going to be a challenge. Our goal is to make it as quick as possible and as painless as possible, but it’s going to be hard because for a while it’s going to mean people are outside of their classrooms,” Mrs. Wiersema said. “It’s going to take a lot of flexibility, but because I know that the end result is going to be amazing, and I think that we all will know that, I think people will get on board with it.”