FEMA money one step closer to Hays



The Hays USD 489 district has cleared the final hurdle for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to build classrooms at Hays Middle School.

Superintendent Will Roth told the Board of Education on Monday the district received final approval last week on its application.

"The federal government will be appropriating over $1.5 million to our project at Hays Middle School," Roth said.

The district received approval of the first phase of the grant, $105,179 for design and engineering, in 2012.

Final grant approval was based on that design and a peer architect review, said Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain.

Built to FEMA specifications, the eight classroom addition on the east side of the building also will serve as a storm shelter for students and staff.

Total estimated cost of the project is estimated at $2.7 million, with USD 489 paying approximately $1.4 million.

The district's share will come from the capital outlay fund, Cain said.

The long term capital outlay budget through fiscal year 2028 includes a payment of $138,000 per year for the district's share of the cost.

Additional space is needed at HMS after the board voted to close Kennedy Middle School at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Approximately 600 middle school students are enrolled at HMS this year.

A 7,280-square-foot metal building with six classrooms and two restrooms was added on the northwest corner of the HMS building last summer to make room for the additional students.

By the 2016-17 school year, administrators project nearly 800 students will be attending HMS in sixth, seventh and eighth grades requiring more additional classrooms.

Cain said now that the district has grant approval, "bids will be sent out pretty quick."

Construction likely will begin this spring with completion scheduled for the 2014-15 school year.