School building tours and meeting Thursday, school bond election Tuesday
The last in a series of public meetings will be held Thursday, April 4 (tonight) at 7 p.m. at the GHS gym. The meeting will explain details of the proposed school building project and tours of the existing 91-year-old high school building will be given.
The information is provided to help voters in the school district make an informed decision before a bond issue vote takes place on Tuesday, April 9. The bond is for a maximum amount of $6.9 million. Depending on the bids, the maximum amount asked for in the bond may be higher than the actual amount of the project.
A presentation will be made by HKG Architects telling about the steps leading up to the bond resolution vote on April 9. The discussions began around six years ago and since that time the school board has done extensive research and planning to provide the best option possible for the students and residents of the school district.
Life safety and code compliance are some of the main issues negatively impacting the old school building. Life safety codes include things like emergency exits, fire alarms, and fire sprinkler system, while code compliance includes making the school handicapped accessible with the addition of elevators, replacing all the pipes, and upgrades to the electrical and security systems. These are lacking in the existing building.
Discussion for a new high school building began, exploring options for a one-level building with additional classrooms, music room, cafeteria, and a competition gym that meets state requirements and would allow the existing space to be used as an auxiliary gym.
The proposed high school building, which is designed to be on one level, will feature 13 classrooms, each 900 square feet, with technology upgrades.
If the vote passes, the school classroom area will be completed by August of 2014. The new gym would be completed by August of 2015. The students would not be relocated, so would be able to continue classes together during the construction.
The new school would also be large enough to accommodate growth, and it was reported that the kindergarten class was large enough this year that it was necessary to split it into two groups. Next year’s projected kindergarten class is already at 32. During the past few years the enrollment for the school has increased from 220 to a current number of 265.
The current financial climate, with historically low interest rates, makes it important to do the project now. The low fixed rate would be locked in for the 30 year life of the bond.
The tax levy example is 2.62 per $1,000 of valuation, which is described as the worse case scenario. As valuation goes up, taxes should go down.
The levy of the bond does not discriminate between ag or commercial property. The levy is equal across the board, so unlike an opt out, it stays the same straight across. The $1,000 valuation of ag land would be taxed the same as $1,000 of owner occupied or commercial property.
In order for the bond issue to pass, it requires a yes vote from 60 percent of the people voting.
A community meeting will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the GHS gymnasium. A presentation will be presented by HKG Architects and the school board will be available to help answer questions. Tours of the high school will be given to show the deterioration of the 91 year old building.
The election is April 9 at the Gettysburg Firehall, and absentee voting may be done during the week until election day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the school business office. Barb Everson, business manager for the school, reminds voters to bring their drivers license to cast a ballot.
By Molly McRoberts