July 30, 2014

Public committee to study possible bond issue

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com

School board members should appoint a broad based community committee to study the Spring Hill District’s long term planning needs, according to superintendent Bart Goering.

Andy Anderson, a consultant with DLR Group, told board members during a Monday evening work session that creating such a committee is the next step in preparing for a likely bond issue. He explained that such a group was formed when the district prepped to pass a bond issue that built the high school a few years ago.

“They’re a great resource,” Anderson said. “Our recommendation would be folks that aren’t necessarily pro-bond issue, but definitely pro-school.”

Goering said potential committee members would likely include individuals selected by board members as well as representatives from community groups.

“My only recommendation is that its folks that are open-minded and well-respected in your community,” Anderson said. “Again, I think it’s beneficial to have some people who aren’t typically inclined to vote ‘yes’ on a bond issue. We need to be responsive to what their expectations are.”

The group would examine in-depth information about the district’s growth and programming needs. Anderson presented preliminary information to the school board on June 28.

Prairie Creek Elementary School is reaching capacity, Anderson told the board. According to estimates from RSP and Associates, the district’s north side elementary school may see enrollment of up to 343 students by the 2012-13 school year. That is RSP’s high end projection for enrollment growth. The low-end projection for the 2012-13 school year is 202. The school building is designed to house 240 students.

“If you hit mid-range and you have 273 students, you’re over by 30 students,” Anderson said.

If PCES enrollment hits in the high-end of the projections, Anderson warned that would mean approximately nine additional students per classroom in the school. District officials tentatively planned for an addition to PCES from its inception. The building’s footprint already allows for easy expansion.
DLR Group staff also met with school officials from each of the district’s school buildings to determine future programming space needs. Anderson presented a wish-list of sorts for improvements to each of the district’s school buildings.

At the high school, items on the list include relocating the District Activity Complex to the high school, adding a multi-purpose room for large group functions, add a dedicated ninth grade center, and a career pathways wing.

The intermediate school has few additional space needs currently, Anderson explained. At the middle school, staff would like to see a upgrades to science rooms, a multi-purpose room capable of holding an entire grade level, a third computer resource lab, a music office and security cameras.

However, he said staff would like to see security cameras installed on the premises.

At Spring Hill Elementary, desired programming space upgrades include doubling Parents as Teachers space, adding two kindergarten classrooms for eight sections of all-day kindergarten, and an early childhood classroom.

Anderson also presented a list of technology and maintenance needs to the board.

Anderson said it takes 18-24 months once a school board plans a bond referendum before new classroom space can be built.

“If you’re talking about being over capacity in 2012, you’re looking at a bond issue in January 2011,” he said.

Anderson’s slide presentation to the board can be viewed online at http://www.usd230.com/ourdistrict/boardofeducation/meetings/.

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