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BVSD pursues design, costs for new intermediate school

September 10. 2013 3:47PM
The Brandon Valley School Board approved a Request for Proposals for architectural services at its last meeting and is proceeding with the process to engage a firm to help the district plan and design a new intermediate school to house grades five and six. Last spring a group representing the community and district met to review the short- and long-term facility needs in the district. That group recommended that the district pursue the intermediate school approach as a response to the projection that the middle school is slated to be bursting at the seams in 2015-16 and will exceed its design capacity in the 2016-17 school year.

The intermediate school would take sixth grade students out of the middle school to provide room to grow for the future and would also ease the elementary schools’ space needs by moving the fifth grade students into the new school. This would have the effect of delaying the need for new elementary school construction. The explosion of new home construction in the district will quickly fill the elementary buildings to capacity and the intermediate school proposal helps relieve that pressure.

There is a traffic study underway in the Robert Bennis Elementary area to analyze how the addition of a new intermediate school just to the west would impact traffic. The results of the study will include suggestions for traffic design that will provide for efficient traffic flow in, and around, that proposed site.

There have been questions about when, and if, the school district will be coming to the people with a bond issue. If the plan to build this new school continues to move forward, the district would need to raise part of the cost through a bond issue.
However, while no firm plans have been set, the district is looking at ways to minimize the size of the bond issue. Until we are farther into the process it is difficult to put a real number on the cost, but we are running a variety of financing scenarios.

One scenario that has some appeal would be to mix capital outlay certificates with a general obligation bond issue. There is borrowing capacity in the Capital Outlay Fund due to the early payoff of the certificates issued for the Performing Arts Center. The capital outlay certificates would not result in any additional property tax since that debt would be paid from our existing Capital Outlay Fund. The remaining portion for the general obligation bond issue could be financed with about $0.30 per thousand in increased property tax.

If all goes as planned, the district hopes to begin construction of an intermediate school next spring. Of course, that will only happen if the community supports it at the ballot box.

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