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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

SMCISD releases renderings for new Mendez Elementary

Delaney Compean

The San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (SMCISD) Board of Trustees approved artist renderings and designs for the replacement campus of Mendez Elementary at its March 18 meeting.

The project is part of an improvement plan for all 12 SMCISD campuses. Propositions B, C and D approved on the May 2023 ballot fund the project.

“The great thing about Prop B is that it impacts all 12 campuses and not one campus is being left out of the list of improvements,” Andrew Fernandez, SMCISD chief of communications said.

The construction of a new campus next to the current Mendez Elementary is the largest project funded by the bonds. According to Fernandez, Mendez Elementary is currently the oldest of the 12 campuses.

“At Mendez, we’ve seen a lot of infrastructure issues over the past few years and we spent a lot of money to maintain the building,” Fernandez said. “How much money we put into maintaining the building is just not cost-effective.”

Perkins & Will, who previously designed parts of San Marcos High School, Rodriguez Elementary and Miller Middle School, planned the new Mendez Elementary campus. The firm currently estimates the total cost of developing the new Mendez campus to be $66.7 million, which is about 45% of Prop B’s bond, while the cost of just construction is estimated to be around $57 million.

“We actually sent [the plan] out for a cost estimate,” Koleman Uresti, the managing director and principal for Perkins & Will – Austin, said in the board meeting. “The independent cost estimators have it coming in at about $56 million, so we’re a million dollars under budget currently.”

The designs submitted by Perkins & Will include features such as distancing the play area from the road, separating the student pick-up and drop-off zones from walking paths, creating a distanced bus loading zone from the drop-off zone and preventing parents from parking on the road when picking up their children.

The designs also include two courtyards: one which Uresti refers to as the “academic wing” can be closed off at night, while the other will have public access to the library, gym and cafeteria.

The new Mendez campus will be constructed on an empty lot next to the current school. Students will continue to use the current school with no interruption for the first phase of the project, then move into the new building at which point the previous campus will be demolished.

SMCISD Board of Trustees President Ann Halsey said she liked the designs, but wished they included more environmentally friendly measures and made use of materials from the existing Mendez campus.

“When we did the new Rodriguez [Elementary] we were really conscious of the site and the environment and the river,” Halsey said. “I think if we could look at ways to improve water retention to help with those courtyards… as well as anything we can do solar-wise with the spaces I would be really interested.”

The SMCISD Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to move forward with the Mendez project as presented by Perkins & Will.

The presentation by Perkins & Will states the substantial completion of the new Mendez Elementary Campus is Oct. 31, 2025.

Other projects in the campus improvement plan include building additional classrooms at some campuses and a new swimming facility.

Fernandez said the safety improvements include the installation of additional cameras, standardized bell systems and door detection systems. The bonds are also funding the acquisition of new buses, brand-new air conditioning systems for some campuses and improvements to parking lots and drop-off zones for some schools.

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