LOUISBURG — For several months, representatives from Hollis + Miller Architects have been working with the Louisburg school board, administration and a committee of district patrons to identify the top facility needs at each school.
The objective is to put together the best option for a bond issue to put before voters in 2020 with the purpose of upgrading the district’s buildings, parking lots, sidewalks and school grounds, as well as other facility improvements.
The board is not proposing building a new school. At the board’s Sept. 9 meeting, Superintendent Brian Biermann presented enrollment trends that showed all of the district’s school buildings have “extensive growth opportunities.”
A bond project of up to $35 million for facility improvements can be accomplished without raising the district’s mill rate, according to figures from the district’s bond counsel.
“Nothing has been set in stone (regarding a bond project),” Biermann said. “The bond issue will either keep the mill rate flat or lower the mill rate. The district will not be increasing the mill rate.”
Biermann said keeping the mill rate flat or reducing it is possible because bonds issued in 2006 to build Rockville Elementary (which opened in 2008) are being retired.
Hollis + Miller Architects, Kansas City, Mo., is scheduled to present a couple of bond options for school board members to consider at the their next meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 in the board meeting room at Circle Grove. If the board approves one of the bond options, it could go before voters as early as April 2020.
The school district has been working with Hollis + Miller Architects since the mid-2000s. The firm was the architect for the Rockville Elementary construction project.
School board members were encouraged at their August meeting to learn that their priorities closely aligned with those of two advisory committees which have been offering feedback to the architects about improvements and repairs they would like to see made at the district’s facilities.
The district’s Steering Committee is made up of administrators from each building as well as the district administration. The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) includes representatives from a broad cross-section of the community.
In addition to gathering feedback from the board and the two committees, Patron Insight is conducting a telephone survey of patrons across the district.
Hollis + Miller will review the information compiled from the committees and telephone survey at the school board’s Oct. 14 meeting when more concrete bond options are discussed.
The following is a list of priority items at each school, identified by the school board and committees, which could be accomplished under the bond project:
Circle Grove (preschool and district office): Parking lot, sidewalk and drainage improvements; roof repairs and replacement; structure and exterior brick repair; HVAC replacement; window replacement and abatement, classroom wing renovation; door and hardware upgrades.
Rockville Elementary (kindergarten through second grade): Parking lot and sidewalk repairs and replacement; flooring replacement; playground improvements; special services remodel.
Broadmoor Elemen-tary (third through fifth grades): Parking lot and sidewalk repairs; roof replacement; door and hardware upgrades; interior renovation; HVAC replacement; student lockers and gym bleachers; secure entry/administration area improvements
Louisburg Middle School: Parking lot/sidewalk improvements; roof repairs and replacement; high-wind shelter addition which would double as classrooms; student lockers and gym bleachers; flooring replacement; HVAC upgrades.
Louisburg High School: Parking lot/sidewalk improvements; multi-purpose addition; HVAC upgrades; flooring replacement.
Districtwide: Tech-nology/security/furniture; lighting upgrades.
A priority item not on the list was building a softball/baseball complex.
“If the city were to build a four-plex at Lewis-Young, they would have to raise taxes,” Biermann said at a previous board meeting. “We can build it with no tax increase.”
Biermann said a bond proposal could be posed as two questions — one about facility improvements and the other about building the softball/baseball complex. The 2006 bond proposal was two questions — one about building Rockville Elementary and the other was about upgrades at Wildcat Stadium and other improvements. In the 2006 bond election, voters approved both questions.
When Hollis + Miller asked about non-negotiable items on the priority lists, school board members said in June that those items would be roof repairs, HVAC systems, safety and security upgrades across the district, as well as a multi-purpose room at the high school and a high-wind addition at the middle school.
“We’re trying to protect students and staff but also protect our investments,” Biermann previously said of the need for the bond project. “Tax dollars and bonds have built and maintained these (buildings). Some of these items have huge price tags. (For example) we can’t do roof replacements out of the capital outlay fund.”