Students at J.T. Brackenridge Elementary work on tablets as part of their daily curriculum.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Community to be briefed on Bond 2016 projects

Miguel Fonseca, a first grade teacher at Twain Dual Language Academy, presents flash cards in Spanish to enrich the students' vocabulary
Architecture and design firms have been busy visiting each site that San Antonio ISD’s $450 million Bond program covers -- from Brackenridge High School to J.T. Brackenridge Elementary, and 11 schools in between. The complete 13-campus Bond program will include classroom renovations, sports facilities upgrades, infrastructure overhauls and other campus-specific work.

As the firms assess the facilities and develop a scope for the projects they’ll be building, SAISD facilities leaders, under the direction of Kamal ElHabr, associate superintendent for facilities, and Kedrick Wright, director of planning and construction, will begin gathering input from the public with a series of community meetings to kick off shortly. Families within the Bond program zones will be able to hear about the projects first-hand, as well as offer feedback to the firms. The meetings will be held at each of the Bond schools, and there will be several. Initially, the community meetings will help parents, students and school staff to understand what will be happening at their campus and to answer questions. In later meetings, the firms will discuss logistics of construction underway while school is in session.

Plans are already underway for some of the changes to one of the Bond-renovation schools, Irving Middle School, which is in the process of transitioning into a new dual language academy, opening in August for PK to 2nd graders (over time expanding to become a PK-8 academy).  First up in renovations are preparations to upgrade restrooms to accommodate the littlest learners, as well as add fencing and age-appropriate playground equipment and furniture. 

Planning for all the 13 schools will be discussed in the upcoming community meetings.  Once the meetings are arranged, SAISD will announce them via its website and social media channels. Additionally, the campuses will inform parents of the meeting dates and times.

Friday, October 6, 2017

New faces added to facilities as the Bond 2016 program hits milestone

Facilities team members at SAISD meet every week to discuss projects

The architects have been assigned. The finalization of each contract is underway. And the people inside the facilities building on North Alamo Street are busy getting their crews together.

SAISD’s Bond 2016 program is in full swing!

Part of the process to get everything up and running is hiring people to do all of the work.

Meet Kedrick Wright. He is the director of planning and construction.

Wright, who has been in education management for 12 years, was first in architecture. Before coming to SAISD, he worked at the private firm of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. Before that, he was Houston ISD's senior manager of facilities design.

Wright’s experience on both sides of the aisle, from architecture as a project coordinator and program manager, to a school district, has given him insight he said he believes will help provide a successful bond program to the students, teachers and families of SAISD.

“The biggest impact I think that I can make is holding architects accountable on the promises made to voters and taxpayers,” he said.

Wright earned his bachelor's degree in environmental design degree from Texas A&M University and a master's in architecture from the University of Southern California.

Another new face in facilities is the director of construction support.

Meet Victor Valdez.

Valdez has been in education since 1999 and previously worked at Judson and Northside ISDs.

He said his role will involve the important task of making the Bond 2016 program run efficiently. As the director of construction support, his job will to be “eliminating the 20 questions” from the project. Instead, he will be ahead of the game by providing the firms a detailed list of the project scope. He’s currently updating the District’s design guidelines to create 21st-century classrooms and the best learning environment for SAISD students.

Valdez believes that the facilities and curriculum departments will work hand in hand to build the best classrooms possible.

“Small districts get what architects come up with,” Valdez said. “We will outline all the details so that there are a lot fewer questions, thereby saving time and money. Our collaboration with the curriculum department will ensure that the equipment, technology and other features of the facility adhere to the District’s standards.”

Valdez believes his strengths include bringing different perspectives to his position at SAISD. Among his experiences are architectural school design, engineering design, accessibility design, energy management and playground safety. He received a bachelor of fine arts in architectural design from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is licensed to practice architecture in this state.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Citizens Advisory Committee kicks off first meeting

Things are beginning to take shape for your San Antonio ISD Bond 2016 program.

The CitizensAdvisory Committee (CAC), which will oversee the progress of the Bond and make sure the money is being spent wisely, held its first meeting to get organized. The nearly two-dozen folks seated at the table are your friends, neighbors and business leaders in your communities.

If you walked in during this first gathering – which you are welcome to do since the meetings are open to the public – you would have noticed that already the members are taking an active role in shaping this Bond program. They asked questions, offered up ideas and spoke together about the scope of the projects.


Kamal ElHabr, Associate Superintendent for Facilities Services, provided an overview of the 13 schools included in the Bond. The $450-million project includes seven high schools, four middle schools and two elementary schools.

ElHabr told the committee members that most, if not all, of the projects include renovations to classroom spaces, the auditorium (if applicable), roofing, front-entry modifications for safety and upgrades to athletic facilities. Indeed, extensive renovations are part of the plan for the aging schools. The goal is to target infrastructure needs including air conditioning, electrical and plumbing needs.

Committee leaders

Part of getting organized means electing those members who will lead the group. The committee elected its chair, vice-chair and secretary following a self-nomination process. Serving as chairperson will be David Garcia (pictured), who was appointed to the CAC by District 7 Trustee Ed Garza. Fatema Basrai was elected by her peers on the committee to serve as vice-chair. She was tapped to serve on the committee by District 3 Trustee Debra Guerrero. Denise Ojeda, also selected by Trustee Guerrero, will serve as secretary.


As ElHabr (pictured) explained, the timeline of the Bond 2016 program is already in action! Right now, he and his team are in the middle of hiring architectural and engineering firms that will work on the projects. That process will take up most of the summer and a small portion of the fall. After those services are hired (and there will be more than one firm involved), they’ll get to work on the 13 schools. That should take about a year. The turning of the dirt will follow, and that’s when we’ll see physical evidence of the Bond in action!


The committee members heard from SAISD Board President Patti Radle, who said that they are truly providing guidance and oversight on something that’s very important to the community. Superintendent Pedro Martinez also spoke. He stressed that all students at SAISD deserve to be proud of the school where they learn, and that the members will help create the right environment for each of the District’s children. Martinez said SAISD is being aggressive in its plan to provide the right tools for each child to reach his or her full potential.

The next CAC meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. They are held at SAISD’s Central Office Board Room, located at 141 Lavaca St.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Welcome to our new Bond & TRE website!

Dear families of San Antonio ISD,

I have always been a staunch advocate for education. I loved school. English, in particular was my strength, and I flourished in areas of communication, history fairs and all things words.

I’m new to SAISD, and I am finding myself thoroughly enjoying my role in bringing messages to you. I will be working closely to ensure that we are communicating bond and TRE implementation information because we think transparency is extremely important. We’ve put together this website so that we can stay directly in touch with our community, as well as those who place their children’s education in the hands of this dedicated school district.

There’s a lot of planning and preparation going into this process ahead of the implementation of funds for both the bond and TRE. As you may know, both the bond and TRE (known as the tax ratification election) passed in November with more than 70 percent of voters saying yes to these two measures. Thank you SAISD community!

What that means for you is that 13 of our wonderful schools will be undergoing major upgrades as part of this bond. The seven high schools are Brackenridge, Burbank, Edison, Fox Tech, Sam Houston, Jefferson and Lanier. Four middle schools are included as well, and they are Davis, Irving, Rogers, and Tafolla. Two elementary schools will receive upgrades - Bowden and J.T. Brackenridge. The District sent out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) so that we may begin the process of identifying architects, design firms and others who will play a direct role in reshaping the selected bond schools.
The bond isn’t all that’s taking place.

Over time, our other campuses will also see benefits from TRE funds with technology and other upgrades to classrooms, as well as increased academic support and expanded extracurricular activities. This will extend across the District but understandably will take time to roll out.

One initiative already underway to help student achievement is the recruiting internally and externally for 250+ highly-skilled teachers. The Districtwide program targets students who are behind and need additional support, and includes extended days and summer programs, partially funded by the TRE.

On this site, and frequently in this blog, I will provide timelines, milestones, videos and photos to you. We will share stories on the impact the bond and TRE will have on our students. It's my belief that the most important work we do is give students the tools they need for life. And that, in part, begins with the quality of our facilities, classrooms, educational programs and offerings in San Antonio ISD.

Thank you for the opportunity to work on behalf of you and your children. I invite you to subscribe to this blog (enter your email address in the box on the top right of this blog), or drop us a comment or question below. Together we will begin the dialogue on these two important measures.


Ryan W. Loyd
Assistant Director of Communications

Community to be briefed on Bond 2016 projects

Miguel Fonseca, a first grade teacher at Twain Dual Language Academy, presents flash cards in Spanish to enrich the students' vocabula...