Three years after Fort Worth ISD sold the old administration building, staff are moving into their new home.
But the cost for the fresh HQ was more than expected.
The new administration building, 7060 Camp Bowie Blvd., cost about $40 million to renovate. The building will house about 300 district staff members from multiple departments. The 140,000-square-foot building sits on 12 acres in west Fort Worth and was previously home to Applied Learning Academy and International Newcomer Academy.
The district spent $1,994,880 to demolish the facility’s interior in preparation for the $38,053,802 renovations, bringing the total cost of refreshing the building to more than $40 million, said Mike Naughton, executive director of facilities planning and operations.
Last year, Deputy Superintendent Karen Molinar told the school board that the district planned to spend $37 million to upgrade the building.
However, Naughton said the project is “currently under budget” and that the final total in savings will be determined when the renovation construction contract is closed out.
The district purchased the building in 1998.
How the building came about
Before moving into the Camp Bowie location, Fort Worth ISD staff worked at the administration building at 100 N. University Drive. The district sold that building for $5 million in 2020.
For the past three years, the district has spent around $600,000 annually to rent the building while waiting for renovations to be completed at the Camp Bowie building.
The district’s decision to sell the location and renovate a new one raised questions at a board meeting in 2022. Current board President Camille Rodriguez, who was then a trustee, questioned the cost of renovating the building and said the administration could have upgraded the facility on North University Drive.
“That was already determined prior to me being on the board, so there wasn’t a lot that could be done because we needed our central office,” Rodriguez recently told the Report.
However, she has recently visited the new facility and called it “nice.”
“The community would like the new building,” Rodriguez said.
What the new building entails
The old administration building had structural issues, limited parking spots and significant problems with heating, ventilating and air conditioning, Naughton said. The Camp Bowie building addresses these issues and provides over 300 parking spaces with plans to add more in the future.
Offices of district departments that interface will be located closer together to allow staff to be more collaborative, building manager Cissy Mattingly said.
The plan is to relocate board meetings to the Camp Bowie facility beginning in October, Rodriguez said. Currently, board meetings are held at the Teaching and Learning Center, 1050 Bridgewood Drive.
Neither location is centrally located, but there’s not much Rodriguez can do about it, she said.
The Camp Bowie project was estimated to be completed by July 31, 2023. However, the district adjusted the schedule to reflect an August completion, a decision that allowed the district to avoid interrupting district services during the busy first two weeks of the school year, Naughton said.
Now, staff members have until the end of September to move in, as the district finalizes minor renovations such as paint, sheetrock and installing glass walls.
“This 140,000-square-foot facility was completely rebuilt in the interior, and outside facade remodeled, in 14 months — the district is proud of this accomplishment,” he said.
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