Ira graduates impressed with new school

By Ben Barkley
SDN Managing Editor

Ira High School graduates Blair McCowen and Kayla Taylor walked through the new Ira ISD school Thursday night and could not believe
what they were seeing.

“Oh my gosh,” McCowen said. “They (the

students) have it really good.”  McCowen said the community has been needing
a new school and the facility is “all for the better of Ira.”

While in the Bulldog Country Gym, McCowen said she could not wait to watch her sisters play basketball.

Taylor said the facility looked “outstanding. It is better than what we had.”

“I am really ready to see what it looks like when everything is in here,” she said.

McCowen and Taylor, who are students at Western Texas College, toured the facility during the board of trustees meeting in order to receive extra credit in a Texas government class.   Also attending were Jackilynn Tabor of Moran and Ashley Semler of Plano. They are the first non-school employees to tour the facility.

“We have brought the teachers over. They are all very excited,” said Superintendent Jay Waller.

The school is scheduled to be completed in June and an open house is being planned for late that month. Waller said following the open house and ribbon cutting, teachers and staff members will begin moving in supplies and furniture.

The new school features 26 classrooms, a gym which will seat 550 people, a cafetorium with a seating capacity of 350 and a separate agricultural science building.
The $12.2 million project was funded through a bond issue and reserve funds from the district.

“It’s amazing the support the Ira community gives to this school,” said board president Shawn McCowen, adding he cannot wait for the community to see the facility.

Waller said one change in the design was in office area. The boardroom was planned for the office, but was changed to a conference room. Waller’s office in Roy Sallee Gym will be renovated into a boardroom.

Tyler Mercer with Buford Thompson Construction,the construction manager at-risk for the project, said the project is on time and on budget. He also praised the Ira board and administration.

“This has been a wonderful project. I would definitely put this up against any project we have done,” he said. “This project is the best example of the three-legged construction stool of the contractor, architect and owner. They have been fantastic building partners.”

During the tour, Waller and basketball coaches Shae Sanford and Eric Simonds had to decide what color to varnish the floor to match wood beams lining the ceiling.

“I am really excited to open this place up next year and get the fans in here. I think they will be just as excited,” Sanford said.

Later this month, kitchen equipment will be delivered and installed and ceramic tile will be laid in the lockeroom.

“This is going to be something the community can be proud of,”
Shawn McCowen said.