School district may seek smaller bond in February

Published on Wed, Aug 3, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Voters in the Blaine school district could see a $3 million bond measure on their February ballot if the Blaine school board agrees to ask for a shorter list of capital improvements.

The $3 million bond would pay for only the most drastically needed improvements to the school district’s buildings, facilities supervisor Jim Kenoyer said. Topping the list would be $2.4 million for upgrades to the aging high school science facilities.

School board members and district administrators first discussed the possibility of this smaller bond after the results of a public survey on April’s $32 million bond revealed most district residents though $32 million was too much. Kenoyer and district superintendent Ron Spanjer were then tasked with providing the school board with a list of capital improvement priorities, which they presented at the board’s July 25 meeting.

In addition to the science facility upgrades, the bond would also cover $225,000 for a new athletic track. Kenoyer said the district has spent between $5,000 and $6,000 this summer replacing worn sections of the track.

The track would be completely replaced, which Kenoyer said could be done in a single summer. The district is considering a track slightly above average in quality with an estimated 25-year lifespan. This type of track is included in most new school construction across the state, he explained.

“I think a little better than the minimal would be a good investment,” Kenoyer said.  

Portions of the $3 million would also pay for upgrading the high school’s lighting fixtures to comply with a new federal energy-
efficient-lighting mandate, resurfacing the tennis courts, replacing the middle and elementary school heating units and upgrading the district’s security cameras. 

Kenoyer explained the district’s 46 security cameras, used at the middle and high schools, are about six years old and in need of improvement. Approximately $100,000 would be used to upgrade existing cameras and to pay for new ones that would cover the elementary and primary schools and the parking lots.

Board members at the meeting agreed that the upgrades in the proposed $3 million bond need to happen sooner rather than later. In order to qualify for the February 2012 ballot, Spanjer said he would need to reconvene the bond committee formed for the $32 million bond and produce a formal recommendation to the board by its September 26 meeting.