Archive for Monday, April 22, 2013

School board to begin scheduling bond-funded projects

April 22, 2013


The Lawrence school board will begin discussing the timeline for construction projects that will be funded with the recently-approved $92.5 million bond issue.

Voters approved the bond issue in the April 2 elections. Most of the money will used to upgrade and expand the city's 14 elementary schools and two high schools, with the bulk of that money going into the six older elementary schools in central and east Lawrence.

Portions of the money also will be used to upgrade technology throughout the district and to expand career and technical education programs offered through the high schools.

Among the issues to be discussed when the board meets Monday night is the timeline for the sale of the bonds. Officials have said they plan to sell the bonds in phases over the next three years as old bonds are being retired. That will keep the district's overall bonded indebtedness about even, so the district will not have to raise property taxes for its debt service fund.

The board is also scheduled to discuss the schedule of the individual construction projects themselves, which is likely to involve closing off all or portions of certain buildings and moving students to other buildings during the construction phases.

In addition, the board will discuss the timeline for selecting an architect and a mechanical and electrical engineer, as well as development of standards and guidelines for the projects.

Also at Monday's meeting, the board will receive the latest five-year enrollment projections prepared by the district's demographics consultant, RSP and Associates.

The board meets at 8 p.m. at the district office, 110 McDonald Dr. The meeting is one hour later than the board's usual meeting time.

Prior to that meeting, beginning at 5 p.m., the board will take part in a workshop session. That meeting will also take place at the district office.

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kuguardgrl13 5 years ago

So they're considering, say, closing Cordley completely for one or two years to get all the work done while moving the students to other buildings, or closing off parts of Cordley and opening them in stages. Honestly, there are benefits to both. If you close the school completely for a short period of time, you can get the kids into a new building much sooner. The downside is that you have to move them elsewhere for a period of time. Do the teachers move with them, or are they folded into other schools and subject to the same upheaval as when Wakarusa Valley was closed completely? And then you have closing the building in stages. This is what I dealt with for most of my elementary school years in the late 90s/early 2000s. We were without such staples as a jungle gym for several years. The divider in the new MPR that separated the cafeteria side from the gym was still not functioning properly when I moved up to middle school. On the flip side, when my middle school was being modeled, they simply added an extra wing, so they put some tarps up between the old and the new. So perhaps they will close some fully and others will be done in stages, depending on what work needs to be done. Personally I hope they are able to complete all the projects as quickly as possible, so that the students can take advantage of the improvements.

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