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Building bonds to generate jobs

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

It's fair to say Houstonians approved their very own stimulus package on Tuesday.

"We are going to build these schools on time and under budget," Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier said.

Between HISD, Houston Community College and the city, nearly $3 billion worth of construction work will be going out for bids.

Thanks to historically low interest rates and builders eager for business, HCC Trustee Richard Schechter insists taxpayers could not have picked a better time get the best bang out of their "bond proposal" buck.

"Especially construction companies, architects and engineers.  They could use the work.  You can get construction for the cheapest cost now that we've been able to get them in a long, long time," Schechter said.

Rusty Bienvenue, executive director of Houston's American Institute of Architects, said projects associated with the bonds will rejuvenate a local industry wounded by recession.

"When you are talking about $3 billion, that's a lot of money.  Architecture firms have cut to the bone and now things have started coming around and this is going to be huge," Bienvenue said.  "Those people hire contractors, subcontractors, engineers, all kinds of consultants."

It is part of the construction-related prosperity HISD Superintendent Grier has predicted.

"It's going to increase property values.  It's going to bring jobs to our community," Grier said.

It is going to provide a steady pay check for thousands of tradesmen building dozens of new schools and college facilities.

Jerry Nevlud, president of Associated General Contractors, said work made possible by the bonds could generate something of a mini-boom in the Bayou City.

"This allows a lot of opportunity for a lot of contractors to have good work for a good while and it's good work.  These are going to be some really good projects and we are looking forward to them having the opportunity to bid on them," Nevlud said.

Lots of big budget building presents the risk of substantial waste.  The school district has promised each and every project will be kept firmly within its budget and overseen by a watchdog committee of campus parents and educators.

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