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Advisory committee to come together

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

An advisory committee made up of school district residents and educators will meet with School Superintendent Jeff Lind and board members this week to begin discussing proposed building improvements at Ely Elementary and Rugby Jr.-Sr. High.

The meeting will be held this Tuesday evening, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. and will include a tour of the Jr.-Sr. High as well as a review of the architect’s facilities assessment, Lind told board members last week.

The purpose of the committee is to give feedback to school officials about the planned upgrades.

The estimated $5.8 million project includes removing asbestos and replacing heating and cooling systems in several classrooms at the Jr.-Sr. High as well as replacing heating and cooling systems at Ely and replacing windows there.

The committee will likely meet a few more times to continue discussing the proposed project and consider funding options, which could include calling a special election for a bond issue. Eventually, it will give its recommendations to the school board concerning what work should be completed and how to go about financing the project. Those recommendations may, or may not be followed by the board, however.

Initially, the plan was to meet three consecutive weeks leading up to the board’s Dec. 8 meeting.

Board member Chuck Volk wondered if it would be best to space the meetings out to enable the committee members more time to take in the information and form opinions. Perhaps, the committee’s findings could come to the board in January.

The board generally agreed to leave it up to the advisory committee as to how many times it wanted to meet before making any recommendations to the board to consider.

The district does have a little over $350,000 in a one-time federal supplemental grant to use toward building improvements. There is also a building levy fund of five mills to use and the district could potentially tap into as much as 15 mills to remove asbestos and improve air exchange in the schools. Those mills would not require a vote and could be authorized for up to 15 years.

Lind said the renovation will need to be designated into the three areas. One, what what work must be completed. Two, what work should be completed. And three, what work would like to be done.

The district has looked into possibly applying for zero interest bonds to finance the improvements. However, just how much work will be competed must be decided before looking into funding options.

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