Abilene ISD board discusses Bowie, Fannin elementary schools land swap

ABILENE, Texas - Plans for Bowie and Fannin elementary schools became a focus of Monday's Abilene ISD board meeting.

During June, the city of Abilene agreed to swap 4.51 acres of park space near Bowie in exchange for almost six acres of land close to the former Fannin Elementary school. Fannin closed at the end of last school year.

One reason AISD made the trade was to own the entire lot that Bowie occupies. The swap also gives the district the freedom to plan future projects for the school.

"(This presents) the opportunity to improve the safety and security immediately around Bowie and again the potential for future expansion at Bowie if that's what the committee decides to do," Abilene ISD Associate Superintendent of Operations Scott McLean said.

The final switch of land will take place once land deeds are signed and exchanged between the school district and the city. 

Bowie was built in 1951. It's one of several elementary schools built in the 1950s. It's also a prime target for improving infrastructure in and around the school.

"They don't build schools the same now as they did," McLean said. "The components of the schools, the way the space is allocated, maybe certain security features or lack thereof" are under review in the master facilities plan.

Fannin will continue to be used for AISD for storage until they sell the property. A citizen group is advising trustees on the district facilities. The group suggested a joining a bond proposal with the money to be used for fixing up schools. The bond election could come as early as November.

The board also discussed reasons for proposing the bond election in November 2013 versus May 2014. If the board elects to join the November ballot, they can take advantage of lower prices and interest rates on labor and materials.

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