Archive for Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Patrons to vote on school bonds

$25.3 million school bond issue planned

May 12, 2004

The bond election has been set.

On Nov. 2, voters will decide whether to approve a $25.3 million bond for school construction.

At Monday night's school board meeting Ron Moore made the motion to hold a bond election. Bob Dehoff seconded the measure which board members approved in a 7-0 vote.

The proposed school construction includes a new 5-8 middle school on the district's 80 acres near Pleasant and Washington, renovation of the existing grade school into a K-4 school and transformation of the current junior high and high school buildings into a 9-12 campus.

Superintendent Richard Erickson told board members that the proposed plan supports the district's curriculum and that it will accommodate the district's needs for at least 10 years.

And, he added, state aid would pay for 30 percent of the bond.

The proposition is an investment in students, as well as an investment in the community, Erickson said.

And, he noted, district patrons will have the opportunity to invest in the school construction -- by buying bonds.

Because the district has hired Turner Construction to serve as the construction manger, local contractors will have the chance to bid on construction work. This could funnel dollars back into the community, Erickson said.

Erickson noted the actual cost of construction is set at $24.97 million. In addition, approximately $300,000 in bonding costs is included in the proposed $25.3 million bond. The bonding costs cover the expenses of setting up the bonds, including the bond consultant fee and bond insurance.

Jim French, architect with the DLR Group, the architectural firm hired on a contingency basis to lead the district through construction, said if voters approve the November bond election, construction would begin in summer 2005 and the project would be completed by September 2007.

The work will begin with construction of the middle school to relieve the overcrowding at the existing elementary school.

"I think we've probably discussed this a lot," Moore said before making his motion to set the date for a bond election. "I think it's time we let the voters decide what they want to do with this."

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