How was the bond project list Determined?
Significant evaluation and preparation precedes decisions regarding our school district’s structural needs. For this particular bond, the school board, school administration, maintenance personnel, and selected teachers began meeting in September 2018 to discuss the future needs of our school population and our present facilities. We also listened to the recommendations of a Community Focus Group comprised of 50 individuals representing LCC school communities. We selected the current project scope as a result of those meetings, with a focus on REPAIR, RENOVATE, and RENEW.
The bond addresses deferred maintenance needs on the district’s buildings, including roofs, exteriors, windows, carpeting, mechanical and systems, and parking.
The bond funds renovations of student learning environments (25,550sf), specifically in the Elementary School, where classrooms will have permanent walls, secured doors, and expanded space. The focus is on improving overall building safety, security, and accessibility and efficiency of student, staff, and patron flow, both inside and outside of school facilities.
The bond encompasses significant new construction (51,550sf) designed to update and modernize classroom facilities that will effectively meet teaching and learning needs well into the future. This includes all new high school classrooms, science labs, state-of-the-art career and technical education facilities (agriculture, industrial tech, family consumer science, business), cafeteria / concessions / commons, multi-purpose / storm shelter, and community fitness center.
If the bond issue is not approved, the identified needs will not disappear. Costs for these projects will increase as interest rates and construction costs rise, and the Board will be required to use the maximum allowable Special Building Fund tax levy to pay for repair and facility improvement costs (14 cents; an increase of 8.14 cents). Projects would need to be completed in phases, reducing the likelihood of cohesive, comprehensive construction plans for safety, security, accessibility, and circulation.
What Happened with the last bond?
In November 2020, the LCC School Board proposed a school facility bond issue resolution for an amount not to exceed $23 million. Voters did not approve the bond issue by a narrow margin of only 50 votes. Following the election, the Board of Education conducted a community survey, assessed needs, and determined how best to address concerns. On May 10th, the Laurel-Concord-Coleridge School Board unanimously approved a school bond issue resolution to call for a Special Election school facility bond issue for an amount not to exceed $18.5 million. The Board researched and identified the Lease Purchase finance option for a portion of the facility project ($6.855 million) to address patrons’ concerns regarding long-term debt and an extended tax levy increase. Read more about Lease Purchase on the Budget page.
How is this Bond different than the last?
There are a few differences between the bond issue project presented in November 2020 and the current bond issue.
- Square Footage: The Board made a few minor adjustments to the initial concept design to address identified needs within the elementary and high school areas. The elementary office area was shifted slightly to the south from the original plan, and the high school science wing was modified to allow for a designated space for the TeamMates mentoring program. Overall, the project area increased by about 4,000 square feet.
- Cost: The overall budget for the proposed project grew by nearly $2 million in just 6 months, due to significant increases in commodity costs for construction materials, higher interest rates and modifications made to the concept design. Estimates call for annual increases of 5% to 7% due to the material and interest rate factors.
- “Not to Exceed” Bond Amount: The bond issue election in November 2020 asked voters to approve bonds not to exceed $23 million for the project. For this election, voters have been presented with a Not to Exceed bond amount of $18.5 million. The difference can be found in the Board of Education’s decision to leverage the Lease Purchase finance option for the elementary portion of the project ($6.855 million), allowing for a lower long-term bond levy ($0.0947), as well as for substantial interest savings ($1.86 million).
What is the board’s plan for the middle school?
This special bond election continues to address the immediate, priority facility needs for the elementary school and high school campus. While there are no bond-specific improvements designated for the middle school campus, the district will continue to maintain and make repairs and updates as necessary to ensure a quality teaching and learning environment. The Board of Education annually reviews the following criteria when considering the needs for instructional programs, staffing, and facilities, including consideration of future campus consolidation:
- Student Enrollment (Students Per Grade Level; Students Requiring Transportation)
- Campus Specific Expenditures
- Necessary Budget Reductions
- Potential Cost Savings
Should the bond issue pass and the facility project proceed, any decision related to future campus consolidation would be put on hold for the duration of the Lease Purchase financing (7 years).
To read the Board’s “Criteria for Consideration of Campus Consolidation” document, click below to download.
What will happen if the bond doesn’t pass?
The cost of a “no” vote is very real, both educationally for students and financially for all communities. As stated above, these proposed repairs and renovations must take place in order for our schools to continue operating, so the district will need to find ways to fund these necessary projects. Costs will likely increase, as interest rates and construction costs rise. The board will also consider the use of additional Special Building Fund tax levies to pay for project costs. The current project list would need to be completed in phases by a variety of contractors, reducing the likelihood of cohesive, comprehensive construction plans for safety, security, accessibility, and circulation.
Will all bond proposal revenue stay within the public school district?
YES. All revenue from the bond proposal will remain in the district—none of it will be taken by a county, another school district, or a political entity. The bond funds can only be used for bond proposal projects and cannot be used for any of the following:
Why is it necessary to reinvest in facilities?
We are proud of what we have already accomplished within our school district and the resulting success of our students. In order to continue serving present and future students, we need to provide them with an innovative, safe, and updated learning environment. We have no doubt this investment will have a positive impact on the Laurel, Concord, Coleridge, and Dixon communities, as young students feel valued throughout their education and return here to live, work, and raise families.
If the vote passes, when will construction begin and end?
Hausmann Construction is working to establish a timeline for these important school improvements. We will announce specific dates for groundbreaking, topping out, substantial completion, and final completion as soon as they are available.