The west parking lot at Marble Falls Middle School, which faces Northwood Drive, is due for a makeover following the approval of over $100,000 to completely remove and replace the lot’s asphalt. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
The money will go toward repaving the parking lots at Marble Falls Middle School, replacing bathroom partitions on several campuses, adding an emergency exit at Marble Falls High School, and installing entry-resistant film at each campus.
MIDDLE SCHOOL PARKING LOTS
Trustees approved over $100,000 for Austin-based road surfacing company Lone Star Paving for the middle school parking lot project, which will be broken up into two parts. The district will seal coat the parking lot facing H-E-B on Pony Drive, while the asphalt in the parking lot facing Northwood Drive will be completely removed and replaced.
A small section of the parking lot facing H-E-B on Pony Drive also will be totally replaced rather than seal-coated.
“The front loop in the front parking entry will be a seal coat, except in one area that we’ve had to do some work on the road because of some pipes we had to replace,” said Stan Whittle, assistant superintendent of operations.
The district anticipates wrapping up the project by the start of the 2023-24 school year.
Around $125,000 will pay for the purchase and installation of bathroom partitions in 91 stalls at Highland Lakes Elementary, Marble Falls Elementary, Marble Falls Middle School, and Marble Falls High School.
Whittle said the quote from Ohio-based school supply company Shiffler Equipment Sales was well under the district’s projections for the project.
“These bids were considerably under cost from where we originally anticipated,” he said.
The project has been on the district’s to-do list for years.
“This was an original project listed on our (2018) bond,” Superintendent Dr. Jeff Gasaway said. “It just kept getting pushed and pushed and pushed.”
MARBLE FALLS HIGH SCHOOL EMERGENCY EXIT
About $150,000 will go toward building a roadway to connect Marble Falls High School with Highview Drive. The 1,100-foot road will be used as an emergency exit only.
“It would not be open during the school day,” Whittle said. “There would be a gate that would keep it secure. We’d probably have to look at another gate by Mormon Mill Road to secure it there as well.”
Trustee Alex Payson asked the board and Whittle why the road wouldn’t be open to the public.
“Maybe it’s a silly question, but why does it have to be emergency only?” he inquired.
Gasaway explained the safety concerns the road could present to the high school’s band.
“There’s significant issues related to our band practicing,” he said.
The price for the roadway was a positive surprise for district officials.
“This is one we thought was going to be over $1 million,” Gasaway said. “One hundred and fifty thousand? Holy cow.”
The road will have a tremendous impact on the high school’s ability to respond to emergency situations, said board President Kevin Naumann.
“It’s huge for emergency access,” he said. “It’s been a priority for the board for a number of years, so I appreciate y’all putting this together.”
Work on the project will be completed by Marble Falls-based contractor Nelson Lewis Inc.
To cap off the district’s improvements, the board approved nearly $100,000 to pay for entry-resistant film on windows.
“If somebody came and tried to bust (the window) out, it wouldn’t be easy to get in,” Whittle said.
The film, similar to window tint, was identified as a priority for the district after the Texas Education Agency added it to its school safety requirements.
“It’s in regard to an extra layer of protection for windowed doors in the office areas and also any ground-level windows that are adjacent to or near a door that is large enough for somebody to enter if broken,” Whittle said.
Schools across Texas are following suit, Whittle said.
“Everybody is going to be looking at getting in on this,” he said. “As you would assume, companies are pretty busy and tied up with it.”
Originally approved as part of the 2018 bond package, the project will actually be funded with state grants.
“We have $250,000 roughly in grant money that we have not received from the state,” Gasaway said. “We anticipate we will get it sometime in August. The funding source says bond, but it will become a grant fund once we get the grant.”
Gasaway explained the necessity of the film to the board.
“If somebody thought, ‘Well, the front door is locked, so I’m just going to shoot through the window, (the film) will keep it from shattering,” he said. “It may shatter, but they’d have to beat and work at it. They’re not just going to be able to shoot the glass and walk right through with a broken glass frame.”