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Chat about the Basehor-Linwood school bond issue with Superintendent Robert Albers

August 8, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Robert Albers, superintendent of the Basehor-Linwood School district, will speak about their upcoming bond issue.

Moderator:

Thank you for joining us today for this chat with Dr. Bob Albers of the Basehor-Linwood school district. I'm Haley Harrison with 6News and will moderate today's chat.

Robert Albers:

Good Afternoon! I am available this afternoon to chat with anyone about our upcoming bond referendum. We are conducting the election by mail in ballot in October. You may also have questions about the voting process since this form of voting has not taken place in this county before.

Jean1183:

I have a family member who attends in your district and I hear wonderful things about it. Most of their comments center around the staff and especially the counselors (with their dogs!) and the fact that there are nurses at each building.

Will the bond cover adding this type of "ancillary" staff?

Robert Albers:

Thank you for your kind words about the schools and teachers of USD 458. We also think we have the best teachers and the best schools in the state. Our state assessment scores will bear this out. Although the bond issue cannot include funding for staff or services, we fully intend to continue the same level of service in all buildings. We are proud of our schools and would do nothing to jeopardize their quality.

dorothyhr:

Has there been any indication that this bond will pass, unlike the past bonds? What will happen if it does not pass?

Robert Albers:

When entering a bond referendum, we have only positive expectations otherwise we would not put all the effort that is required into it. We are hearing a lot of positive comments about the plan itself and also the locations of the buildings. We have no contingency plans if it does not pass. The crowding at the elementary schools is becoming critical. My expectation would be that we would try again as soon as possible. Time is very critical, because we are bursting at the seams. There are programs we cannot offer because we do not have the room or the right facilities. We have to do something and do it now.

hippiehawk1:

I was curious about the soccer field that is included in the upcoming bond issue. Why didn't Basehor pursue the same route that Bonner Springs did by converting the football field to field turf? That way football & soccer(boys/girls) could all use the same field without putting up additional lights & bleacher, plus saving money on maintenance.

thanks

Robert Albers:

Cost is the primary reason for not asking for synthetic turf on the football field. Turf would be more than a million dollars plus the field would have to be enlarged which would require redoing the track also. That would all be very expensive. Some might say that turf would take care of the problem for the foreseeable future, but turf also has to be replaced sooner than one might expect. Safety is the main objective of constructing a new soccer field. Presently, we play on a field that is too narrow for soccer, which requires the boundaries to be on or near the grates used for drainage. This is not safe. Even covering the field with turf would not solve that problem. The filed would still need drainage and would still be too narrow. The board feels this is the most cost effective and most complete solution to the problem.

JRHK:

Past Basehor-Linwood Schood district property purchases have included where Glenwood Ridge Elementary School now sits. This property was adequate enough to build two schools buildings IF the Glenwood Ridge school building had not bee placed at an odd angle to prohibit the efficient and economical use of the rest of the property. Now the school district has a huge LAWN that it must maintain equalling increased overhead (more operational money being spent).

Now they wish to purchase 77 acres ( 50 acreas more than needed and more than enough area to place ALL of the current BL school buildings on) to build on again. Is the school going to be placed in an efficent area of the property so as not to WASTE the rest of the property on lawn that they will need to mow? Or will the unused area be continued to be farmed and serve a useful purpose? Why isn't there a reasonable sized tract of land (20 acres) that would serve the district better (I happen to know there are several)?

Robert Albers:

We looked at various sites to locate a new middle school in the relative center of the district. This particular site always seemed to come back as the best. The drawback was that we could not purchase only 30 acres, the size recommended for a middle school. Therefore, it was deemed advisable to purchase the entire tract, and sell off the unneeded portion after construction. The placement of a school on the tract should make the remainder very attractive to a developer, so we do not anticipate difficulty in selling the excess. One of the reasons this site was attractive was the relative ease of connecting to sewer. It is not available adjacent, but is nearby. Several other sites we looked at to the south or to the east would have been extremely difficult to gain access to sewers. The larger acreage will also allow us to locate the building in such a manner to have gravity flow sewers and not have the expense of putting in a lift station. This particular site had been designated twice before as the best place for a school. We think this is the right plan in the right place at the right time.

Moderator:

Our time is up for today's chat. Before you go, Dr. Albers, can you briefly list the elements of the district's $39.9 dollar bond package, for those who don't know?

Robert Albers:

Here are the basics of the bond election.

It will be by mail in ballot with the ballots being mailed on October 5th. October 25th at 12:00 noon is the deadline to return your ballots to the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

Voters must be currently registered to receive a ballot. If you have moved or changed your name or address, you must register anew to be eligible to vote. September 25th is the last day to register and guarantee you will be mailed a ballot.

The particular items of the bond issue are:
1. A new elementary (Gr 3-5) school to be constructed southeast of 155th and Hickory Streets on land donated by Jerry and Ruth Ann Mussett. The cost of the new elementary will be $11,450,000.
2. A new middle school to be constructed in the center of the district on land recently purchased by the board across 158th Street from Glenwood Ridge. The cost of the new middle school will be $24,800,000. This will include the cost of the land, site development including athletic fields, and construction.
3. An addition to Glenwood Ridge Elementary School consisting of six new classrooms, restrooms, conversion of the existing kindergarten room to an art room, and remodeling the present entrance and office to provide better security. The cost of this improvement will be $2,500,000.
4. Renovation of Linwood Elementary School calls for moving the offices to near the first floor entrance. This will improve the appearance and the access to the building to provide better security for students. The estimated cost of the renovation at LES is $750,000.
5. The new soccer field will improve safety as previously discussed. The new field will be located on land already owned by the district west of the present high school. The estimated cost will be $400,000.

The total cost of the plan is $39,900,000.

Moderator:

Thanks to our readers for the questions and thanks to Dr. Albers for joining us.
This wraps up our chat.

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