LISD moves toward new high school
Polk County Enterprise - January 2008
LIVINGSTON — School officials announced their decision to move forward with a $64 million high school construction project to ease overcrowding issues throughout the district during Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Board President Bea Ellis said the board has been working to meet facility demands for the entire 15 years she has served.
"We have made a lot of progress, but there's lots more to make. We have to make a decision to move forward," Ellis said.
"The one thing that is telling to me in the construction of a new high school— even though the total cost is in the neighborhood of $64 million is being able to levy 31 cents as interest and sinking tax and bring funding levels back up to the levels they were in the 2006-2007 school year," said Superintendent Darrell Myers said.
With the announcement of their intention pursue bond issuance to cover roughly 90 percent of the construction costs, the district will being working with consultants on design and more specific cost estimates.
Building a new high school campus will alleviate a lot of stress on elementary campuses as well, Myers added.
Projected population growth by the district and Memorial Medical Center show that student numbers will continue to increase.
LISD currently has 680 students in elementary grades.
Once a new high school campus is opened, Myers said the existing campus would lend itself to an intermediate school and allow younger children to attend the single-story intermediate campus.
Transposition of the junior high and high school campuses would be less expensive, but would leave elementary campuses overcrowded, Myers said.
Construction of an elementary school is estimated at $20 million, Myers said.
The campus swap and new elementary would put costs of meeting student population demands for the next 15 years at the same cost as a new high school campus, Myers said.
Trustees voted 7-0 pursue calling a bond election at the
February meeting to go to voters in May.
The defeat of a previous bond package that included construction of a new high school ultimately cost taxpayers an additional 12 percent in inflated construction cost for each year the project is put off, according to Board Secretary Ben Ogletree III.
"That's $2 million for every year you delay it," Ogletree said.
By opting for new construction, the district can also pursue state funding through existing debt allotment programs.
EDA funding could pay for 10 percent of the construction cost.
Renovated or swapping campuses would not be eligible for the EDA program, according to Myers.