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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 23, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY January 23, 2003 12 pages in 2 sections 12 pages in 2 sectnHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 61Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 centsJob-site death was an accident, examiner says By Ron Maloney Staff Writer CANYON LAKE — The 42-year-old Alabama man killed Monday in an accident on the Guadalupe River died instantly. Travis County Medical Examiner Dr. Roberto Bayardo has ruled the death of Nicky Outlaw an accident, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jennifer Saunders said. “The cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries to the chest and head,” Saunders said. “Dr. Bayardo said Mr. Outlaw died instantly.” Outlaw, of Fyffe, Ala., was a heavy equipment operator working for Regency Construction of Slidell, La., on the Guadalupe River cleanup project. Outlaw died at about 10:50 a.m. Monday in an accident that occurred on a river landing just off the end of Pecan Street, located at the first crossing of Farm-to-Market Road 306. The Comal County Sheriffs Office released no details of the accident or its possible cause. Deputies called in the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigates workplace accidents. Elisabeth Slatten, OSHA assistant area director for the Austin area, confirmed Wednesday that her agency is investigating the accident.See ACCIDENT/3A Civic vision Renderings courtesy Rehler, Vaughn & Koone Inc. (Above) An artist’s conception of a new civic center complex that spans the Comal River at Prince Solms Park shows a giass-and-steel bridge with native limestone buildings. (Below, right) A schematic shows the layout of the Comal River plan. (Below, left) A contrasting plan shows the civic center expanded at its current site. New plan would put civic center over Comal River Inside Abby..................................4A Classifieds...........................4-6B Comics................................3B Crossword..........................4A Forum.................................6A Local/State.........................5A Movies................................4A Obituaries.....................  3A Sports..............................1-2B Today..................................2A Key Code 76 8    66825    00001    1 By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Another new wrinkle has been thrown into the discussions of when and how to expand the New Braunfels Civic Center. City Council members were treated to a dazzling new proposal for a civic center at a workshop meeting Monday night. The new facility would triple the size of the existing facility on Seguin Avenue — as would expanding the existing structure. It would also be accessible by foot to the historic downtown district. But that’s about where the similarities end. Architect Ken Rehler dropped jaws in the council chambers at a workshop held to discuss the city’s future building needs, presenting a civic center opt ion he says can be built for less than $12 million. The cost compares to the $7.3 million estimate for expanding the current facility. The new idea is a striking, glass-and-8teel building built on an arch truss bridge over the Comal River just upstream hum the San Antonio Street bridge. Renderings of the project are on display at city hall for anyone who wishes to view them. Among the project’s plusses, said City Manager Charles Pinto, is that the building as rendered is a striking and beautiful one for a civic center. “Ken has examined our options and offered us a very top-notch alternative that fits New Braunfels and can be an icon for this city,” Pinto said. People who were viewing the idea in city hall Wednesday were greeting the drawings with words like “awesome,” and “wow.” “Right now, we’re really still in what I call the ‘stutter stage,’” Pinto said. The rendering by the man who designed the New Braunfels Public Library and the Central Texas Technology Center is far from pedestrian, Pinto said. “Regardless of their position on it, everyone agrees Ken has come up with a fantastic idea.” Pinto said the building could be financed over 15 or 20 years and, if voters agree, it could be paid for with hotel occupancy and sales taxes — without affecting local property taxes. But the project would have to go See CIVIC CENTENA NBISD updates stats on students’ standardized tests By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer The Tree of Life Church bought a 54-acre tract of land at 1-35 and Doeppen-schmidt Road — formerly known as ROAM Open Air Markets — and plans to build a new campus with a family theme-park motif there. Pastor Mike Fehlauer explained why. “Our growth rate over the past two years has taken us beyond the capacity of our current facility,” he said. “Growing at a rate of around 60, 65 percent, we knew that we had to come up with a plan to accommodate the increasing number of people attend ing our weekend services.” Fehlauer said that 22 months ago the church had 850 in attendance, now it has 1,465. “So several months ago, we started looking for enough land that would accommodate our growth for at least the next 20 years. Being a regional church with members coming from as far away as 60 miles, we thought it would be wise to try to find land on the IH-35 corridor for quick and easy access to our members.” Fehlauer said the land will cost $3 million, and as a result, it’ll be about two years before the new campus would be built. The projected cost of the project is $5 million. It would feature an 85,000 square feet sanctuary/auditorium with expandability to 4,000 seats, including seats for preschoolers to elementary-age schoolchildren. Fehlauer said the campus would include a miniature train that would shuttle visitors to and from the parking lot. And there’ll be other activities such as a go-cart racetrack, a miniature golf course, a skateboard park and sand volleyball courts. "We believe in initiating and creating family activities where parents can play with their kids,” the pastor said. Swingin’ K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zertung Students at Canyon High School practice their tennis skills amidst the confines of ongoing construction Wednesday. By Sean Bo WUN Staff Writer The New Braunfels Independent School District is required to report its Academic Excellence Indicator System data — containing student achievement, attendance, dropout, demographic budgetary and staffing information —to the public, and that’s what it did Tuesday evening at its monthly board of trustees meeting. Trustees heard the following successes and reverses on TAAS testing: ■ Third-graders in the NBISD increased their mathematics scores by four points, assistant superintendent for curriculum Rosalyn Bratcher said. ■ Economically disadvantaged students increased their scores by eight points. ■ Fourth-graders increased scores three points, where fifth-graders went up two points. Hispanic fifth-graders increased four points; seventh-graders showed an increase in mastery for all students from 90 percent to 97 percent. ■ Exit level TAAS math scores went from 89 percent passing to 93 percent. ■ In eighth-grade math, students went from 95 percent to 90 percent mastery. ■ In reading, fifth-graders improved from 94 to 96 percent mastery with all subgroups showing an increase also. ■ Seventh-graders increased from 92 to 94 percent in reading. ■ Eighth-graders went from 92 to 94 percent overall, with economically disadvantaged students increasing seven points in reading. ■ And at the exit level of TAAS, the pass rate in reading increased from 91 to 96 percent for all students. ■ Hispanic students had a 10-point gain and economically disadvantaged students posted a 12-point gain on exit-level reading tests. ■ Third- and fourth-grade reading showed drops of 3 and I percent, respectively. Sixth grade also dropped three points to 88 percent mastery, equaling the state average. ■ In writing, eighth-graders’ increased scores three points with Hispanic students up six points and economically disadvantaged students up IO points. Exit level scores increased from 89 to 93 percent. ■ In writing, fourth-graders dropped from 91 percent to 90 percent mastery. ■ In social studies, eighth-grade scores increased five points overall; Hispanic scores increased 12 percent; economically disadvantaged scores went up 14 percent. ■ In science, overall scores at eighth grade dropped from 93 percent to 90 percent. This was the last year students will take the TAAS test. Texas reworked it and this spring, students will take the Tfexas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, test. Dr. Rosalyn Bratcher, NBISD assistant superintendent for instructional services, said it’d be harder than the TAAS. And Bratcher said that during the 2002-03 school year, district educators would focus on reading, writing, science and social studies instruction. Tree of Life branches out with land deal ;