ITALY — It was hard for Italy ISD Superintendent Lee Joffre to contain his excitement for the changes happening right before the very eyes of residents, faculty, staff and students.

Dirt has begun to move. Walls are coming down and the reality of IISD's $12 million bond, which was passed May 9, 2015, is here as construction crews begin phase one of a potentially two-phase improvement project.

"We are very excited to begin improvements to our facilities. The community has been supportive and helpful in our efforts. They have also been patient," said Joffre on Tuesday afternoon. The superintendent is in his sixth year with the district after serving five years as a principal.

According to Joffre, Phase one will include an addition, remodel and improvements to Stafford Elementary, along with a new agriculture science building at the high school and a new football field — complete with turf and an eight-lane track.

Stafford Elementary will add 10 classrooms, along with two science labs, a computer lab and a library-media center combination, Joffre explained. He also noted the approximately $5 million in renovations would, outside of aesthetics, address the structural and electrical integrity of the school, in addition to adding a new secured entrance.

Joffre pointed out that "Phase 2 will take place when the school board is sure we have the bonding capacity to continue."

A second phase, if pursued will include a new cafetorium and presentation area for band and theater classes, he confirmed.