Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2005

Bond issue rounding into shape

District Advisory Council endorses $23.3 million plan

April 7, 2005

More bang for the buck.

While Basehor-Linwood School District officials didn't use those exact words in describing a possible $23.3 million bond issue, they weren't shy about pointing out that the desired new school proposal entails acquiring more for less.

"I think it's a deal, a bargain," said Jill Hackett, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent. "It's an attempt to be fiscally responsible to our community but at the same time plan for the future of the Basehor-Linwood School District."

In March, the district advisory council, a group of school district patrons that discuss educational issues with administrators, reached a unanimous decision to support the $23.3 million plan. All six of the advisory council subgroups determined the plan is the most suitable, school administrators said.

Paying less money for more school space was a major selling point. In 2003, a $29.9 million bond issue, which voters rejected, would have allowed the school district to grow by 1,303 students; the bond proposal under consideration now allows for 1,725 new students.

And, as district officials point out, the new proposal allows Basehor-Linwood to grow by 422 more students for approximately $7 million less than the 2003 bond proposal.

Overall, the $23.3 million proposal would pay for:

  • New construction, minor remodeling and work to the parking lot and sidewalks at Basehor Elementary School. Cost: $930,161.
  • New construction, minor remodeling, a Kindergarten playground and work to the parking lot and sidewalks at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School. Cost: $1.8 million.
  • A new kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary school at an as-of-yet undetermined location. Cost: $6.4 million.
  • New construction, minor remodeling and work to the parking lots, sidewalks and track and athletic fields at Basehor-Linwood Middle School. Cost: $8.1 million.

Under this configuration, the existing middle school facility in Linwood would serve students in the sixth through eighth grades. The current middle school houses seventh and eighth graders only.

  • Adding 10 more classrooms at Linwood Elementary School. Cost: $2 million.

The figures do not include expenses such as paying for architectural, legal and geological services, among others.

Though the advisory council has endorsed the $23.3 million bond issue, decisions must still be made concerning other aspects, namely when the question will go before voters. District officials have previously said it will most likely be proposed sometime during the next school year.

Another possible wrinkle to the bond issue is whether a second question, one concerning athletic facilities at Basehor-Linwood High School, will be added to the ballot.

Designers from Horst, Terril and Karst Architects submitted plans for athletic facilities to be located on 15 acres of vacant land at the high school at the request of district advisory council members.

All told, the plan submitted by the design firm could total as much as $6.5 million and includes new fields, renovations and a natatorium building, which would house a swimming pool.

Decisions on both the timing of the bond issue and the athletic facilities question will be issues of discussion for the advisory council during its next meeting April 25.

The group's decision will be based in part on feedback from school district patrons. School district officials have drafted a survey and were scheduled to mail out the questionnaire this week to every patron in the school district.

The survey is tailored to gauge how patrons might vote on the bond issue under consideration, Hackett said.

Responses from the survey should be returned in time for the April 25 advisory council meeting and will be helpful in determining unresolved issues concerning the possible bond issue.

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