New Belton ISD campuses, improvements nearly complete | News

BELTON — Lake Belton High School cheerleaders descended upon a recent staff meeting at the new West Temple campus.

The speakers blared “We’re All in This Together,” a song from the Disney movie “High School Musical,” as administrators, including Superintendent Matt Smith and Principal Jill Ross, danced with their students. The flash mob, of course, was done all while social distancing and with everyone wearing masks.

The campus — Belton Independent School District’s second comprehensive high school — and the orchestra addition at Belton High School are almost 100 percent completed, Mike Morgan, assistant superintendent of operations, told the trustees this week during an update on construction projects.

“This is the last construction update off of the 2017 construction bond,” Morgan said, referring to the nearly $150

million bond voters approved more than three years ago that financed several projects, including the orchestra addition, LBHS and Charter Oak Elementary.

Jarrod Sterzinger, an architect with Austin-based O’Connell Robertson Architects, the firm that designed Lake Belton High School, said he has been waiting for people to finally be in the new building.

“It was really great seeing people in the facility and really experiencing the great space it is,” Sterzinger said.

The architect pointed out that much of what needs to be done at LBHS, 9809 FM 2483 in Temple, and the orchestra addition are minor details, such as installing door knobs and setting audio and visual equipment.

“It’s an extraordinary facility that’s going to meet the needs of our kids for years to come,” Morgan said of the orchestra addition, 600 Lake Road.

The assistant superintendent said the addition was sorely needed. Belton High School’s orchestra program started out with 26 students in 2012. It’s blossomed in the eight years since.

“As of the end of the 2019-20 school year, we had over 200 students engaged in orchestra,” Morgan said. “It was a great need for that, with the opening of Belton Middle School and the Belton High School students moving back over to the main campus.”

Previously, orchestra students practiced at the former BHS Ninth Grade Center. That building, 1704 Sparta Road, is now once again Belton Middle School.

As the pair of high school projects wind down, Belton ISD is set to begin renovating playgrounds at all 11 of its elementary campuses. Last month, the Belton school board unanimously approved the $2 million project.

The schools are getting new swings, additional play structures, coverings over the playgrounds for shade, and better fall protection, according to a staff report.

Work is expected to start Tuesday at three campuses — Belton Early Childhood School, Leon Heights Elementary and Sparta Elementary.

“Ultimately, (we’re) trying to get through everything by the November timeframe,” Sterzinger said.

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