Snook and Navasota students went back to school Monday in the midst of bond-related construction projects.
Both districts reported successful first days, noting only some increased traffic.
“Everything was good, other than just allowing a little bit of extra time for folks to get in and get out around the campuses, especially this first week,” Navasota Superintendent Stu Musick said. “But other than that, everything was smooth.”
Most of the congestion in the Snook school district was due to a parking lot project that is still two weeks away from being completed, Snook Superintendent Brenda Krchnak said.
In addition to parking, the projects at Snook include a new secondary cafeteria and fine arts center, a Career and Technical Education classroom addition, weight room renovations, building maintenance and a new football stadium and track with concession stands and restrooms. The construction is related to a $7.5 million bond package approved by voters in 2018.
Krchnak said the projects seemed to be on schedule, with the new cafeteria set to open in the spring.
“It brings its challenges logistically, but there’s a lot of excitement in the air and people are anxious to be a part of the growth and the opportunities that we’re going to be able to provide our students once this construction is complete,” Krchnak said.
Most of the construction work does not have an impact on the day-to-day operations of the district, she said, but the cafeteria project means shared spaced and some schedule adjustments.
“It went very well for the first day,” Krchnak said. “We were very pleased. It was very organized and the transitions went very well.”
One of the projects she said she is excited to see is the new fine arts center, which is expected to be completed in the spring.
“It’s going to provide some much-needed space for our students in that area, and it will kind of become somewhat of a student center, so that they feel like they have ownership in the building,” she said.
Krchnak noted she is also excited for the district to get its own football stadium.
“We’ve never had a stadium. This gives us an opportunity to have a home stadium with an eight-lane track,” she said. “We can host our own track meets; we can have home football games. We can bring the Friday night lights to Snook and help build that excitement.”
In Navasota, Musick said, students and staff members on the junior high and high school campuses “basically are going to have school on a construction site,” as the district completes the projects related to a $55 million bond package voters approved in November 2017.
Among the projects are new science wings at the junior high and high school campuses and renovated and new Career and Technical Education areas.
The renovated vocational technology building was open for the first day of school, housing ag science, horticulture, floral design, professional communications, welding, woodshop and other classes.
The new CTE building will have new programs, including veterinary science courses.
Over the course of the day Monday, Musick said, he visited every campus.
“It was really, really calm and smooth,” he said. “That’s what you want to see.”
Though the majority of the construction is near the junior high and high school campuses, Musick said, the elementary campuses saw heavier traffic that typically accompanies the start of the school year.
“I think right now we’ve got a really good plan in place,” he said. “It’s day one, so it’s just going to be a little congested until it settles in a little bit, and that’s to be expected.”
Last week, Musick met with each principal and the police department, he said, and he planned to meet with them Monday after school to see if any changes need to be made.
On Monday, Krchnak said, Snook had 520 students, which is more than the 511 the district had during the 2018-2019 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency.
Musick said he did not have an accurate count of how many students were in Navasota schools Monday, but he expected the district to have more than last year’s TEA-reported 3,039 students.
“Our high school numbers are already higher, and then our junior high is higher than before, so I won’t be surprised if we’ve got an increase in enrollment for this year, so that’ll be good,” he said.