Citizens voice concerns at Old High open forum about aging facilities

WFISD hosts another facilities open house - KAUZ

WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Wichita Falls ISD had its third open forum focused on the district’s aging facilities at Wichita Falls High School Wednesday night.

Parents, students and teachers (past and present) all agree that changes need to be made to the school but differ on what those changes should be.

Some feel the best path would be to build a new school that provides modern technology while also being a safe place to learn.

“Maintaining these old buildings gives nothing back to education or the betterment of our students, and in some cases, we can’t even offer security that our students deserve in today’s world,” said one attendee.

There were also people in support of combining all the high schools into one or two new buildings.

One teacher in attendance stated, “You talked about programs getting cut – it got cut because the school was too small to support it. We’re going to need some bigger schools.”

Others feel a larger school would not be best for the students academically and socially.

A child advocate stated, “It seems quite impractical, and if I may be so bold, it is a gaping hole in plans for a grand school you desire to erect.”

Others brought up the idea of building a new high school in addition to the existing ones, bringing the WFISD up to 4 high schools.

East Branch YMCA Director J.W. Harris said, “My suggestion would be not to close down any schools, but to build a new school in District 2.”

School Board President Elizabeth Yeager said the board is glad to hear such a variety of ideas, “As school board members, we're representatives of the public. So, the more we hear from people I think we can make more informed decisions. I hope we will continue these types of efforts.”

However what is clear is that coming to a decision will require compromise from all sides.

Founder of the road to College Program Café Con Leche Gonzalo Robles said, “Don’t be thinking ‘Don’t close my school’, or ‘The school has to be in this side of town or this other side’. Let’s keep that aside and just think about the future – what we need as a community, and for the future of our youth.”

There have also been open forums held at Hirschi High School and Rider High School.

The WFISD school board has conducted a facilities study. In it, they found that it would cost $170 million to keep all the district’s school buildings maintained.

The final community forum will be at the Career Education Center Thursday, March 14 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Copyright 2019 Texoma News Network. All rights reserved.