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School bond projects to include artificial turf



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October 06, 2010 - Goodrich-How does artificial Martian turf sound?

At a cost of about $600,000, replacing the sod in the football field with a manufactured surface will be on the list of projects designated by the building and site committee. The list of priorities must be narrowed to spending $15.4 million if the bond extension is approved by voters.

"There are some big ticket items on the list," said Doug Tetmeyer, school board trustee and building and site committee chairperson.

"The current field has very poor drainage and more students will be able to utilize an artificial turf field. Right now the football field is costing the district about $40,000 per year. The cost is a wash in the long run. As soon as the band or others are on the field it gets pretty rough."

Tetmeyer said the field should last the district 12-15 years before replacement.

"We are close to nailing down all the projects in the bond extension," he said.

At 6 p.m., Oct. 18 the board will meet to vote on the final list of projects for the proposed bond extension. Financing for the projects to move forward followed board approval on Aug. 23.

A Feb. 22, 2011 vote is expected for the bond extension for school district residents. If the board waits until May 2011 to vote, area state equalization values (SEV) will dip by a projected 8.6 percent, dropping the maximum amount to $1.1 million. By using the School Bond Loan Fund, the school can keep the current millage rate of 7.75, said school officials. The SBLF helps small districts like Goodrich keep steady the millage rate while having enough money to complete major projects.

"A new gym floor is also on that list," said Tetmeyer. "For about $90,000 the current wood floor will be replaced—right now it's sanded down as far as it can go."

Also, the list of projects will include the expansion of Reid Elementary cafeteria and new lockers.

Tetmeyer added that some of the projects discussed were on a list established about four years ago when the district considered a $32 million bond. Since then a sagging economy has deflated SEV of area homes, reducing the maximum bond amount available to $15.4 million. However, that amount may increase

following a 7-0 vote in September when the board passed a resolution to apply for Quality School Construction Bonds that, if approved, would drop the projected interest rate from about 5.125 percent down to 1.5 percent

"We will still go to the people for a vote, but with the QSCB we can reduce the interest significantly," said John Fazer, district superintendent.

Fazer said the money is left over from the first round of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The money will be available to school districts that apply on a first-come, first-served basis. If the school receives the money it would raise the bond amount by about $4 million to $19 million.

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