Mark Taylor
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Spring Hill School Board members got a preliminary look at construction plans for Prairie Creek Elementary School on July 5.
Plans to expand the school to a capacity of 528 students in the fall of 2012 were included in a $39 million bond issue that voters approved last month for maintenance, school additions, new facilities and technology upgrades.
The work includes the addition of 19,944 square feet of new space and 7,541 square feet of remodeled space to the existing 52,000 square foot facility.
Andy Anderson, consultant for the DLR Group, told board members the work will mirror existing Prairie Creek classroom space and expand the school to four classrooms per grade level in K-5.
The school currently has three, four-classroom grade level pods at the front of the building.
Proposed are three additional, four-classroom pods at the back of the building, including storage, restrooms and discovery areas.
“These pods will mimic the pods in front,” Anderson said. “…All three of these pods are going to look the same as the existing pods. It will look like it was part of the original building.”
The plans also include remodeling work on the teacher’s lounge, additional seating for the gymnasium, and a portable thrust stage for the auditorium.
Closed circuit television monitoring is proposed for the vestibule in the school’s front main entrance.
Twenty additional parking spaces are also included.
Work on the school is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2012-13 school year.
Other bond issue projects will include:
• A new 528-student elementary school on the existing 155-acre high school site, expected to be completed in the fall of 2013.
• Transforming Spring Hill Elementary into a pre-kindergarten to fifth grade facility in the fall of 2013.
• Converting the current intermediate school into a sixth grade building by fall of 2013.
• Safety enhancements in all schools, district-wide technology upgrades and various maintenance projects.
School officials have said the bond issue will not result in a mill levy increase because of long-range planning, a 61 percent increase in assessed valuation over the past 10 years, and state aid that will cover 45 cents of every dollar spent.
The school board is expected to sell the bonds this week.
The board agreed last month to proceed with the bond sale following a presentation by Greg Vahrenberg, managing director for PiperJaffray, who said favorable interest rates and increased state aid would work to the district’s advantage.
Average interest rates for the scope of work have fallen from 4.6 percent to 4.24 percent, which would reduce projected interest payments by about $3.1 million.