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'Elated:' Hardin-Jefferson ISD set to launch campus improvement projects after bond proposals got green light from voters

Voters said yes to more than $25 million in bond proposals that will go toward improving campuses and athletic facilities

SOUR LAKE, Texas — Election Tuesday 2020 was a big night for Southeast Texas schools 

Hardin-Jefferson ISD voters passed both proposed bonds on Tuesday. 

More than $25 million will go toward school improvements and athletic facilities. 

Hardin-Jefferson ISD Director of Communications Mandy Fortenberry spoke to 12News on Wednesday about the big plans for the community investment. 

Fortenberry said administrators were 'elated and overwhelmed' after the vote from the community to go ahead with facility improvements for the district. 


"We woke up this morning feeling like a kid on Christmas morning," 

That's thanks to two big wins for bond proposals that were on the ballot in Tuesday's election. 

Fortenberry said the last three years have been an uphill battle for the district. 

"So in 2017, you know we were affected by Harvey just like a lot of people in our area," Fortenberry said. 

RELATED: Voters pass 2 Hardin-Jefferson ISD bonds totaling $25M for school facility, stadium improvements

MORE | See HJISD social media statement following bond vote 

The historic storm led to lost jobs, displaced residents, and damaged schools. 

"We lost one of our campuses. Henderson Middle School had quite a bit of water in it for several days," Fortenberry said. 

One week before the never-ending rain, Fortenberry said the district had just wrapped up projects to improve the middle school campus thanks to 2016 bonds. 

While students learned in portable buildings, officials came together to make a plan for this year's bond proposal. 

"We really started talking about what our community would support. What our community needs. We thought about the growth," Fortenberry said. "We thought about the quality of the building. Wow many years the building would last."

To prevent future flooding, all structures will be elevated to two feet above base flood elevation. 

"This summer, we will start construction. we've already demolished the old Henderson Middle School. So that puts a little bit ahead of the game," Fortenberry said. 

The new Henderson Middle School will open its doors in August of 2023. 


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