Two proposals; field house and solar projects axed; August vote

 

Voters in the Almont school district will be going to the polls in August to decide the fate of another bond issue. The first proposal was rejected in February by a wide margin.

ALMONT — District voters will be going back to the polls in August to once again consider a school bond issue.

This time, the board appears to be leaning towards splitting the issue into two questions.

At a special meeting April 1, the board discussed the bond issue at length before deciding to move forward with an August election.

“We want to right side this (bond issue) and move forward,” said Superintendent Kimberly VonHiltmayer. “We’ve had community feedback, met with the construction people and have put a lot of time into getting these numbers, in a short amount of time,” she added.

The Almont school district had a meeting with the State Treasury scheduled for April 10.

According to Board President Angela Edwards, the first proposal would be for $22,680,000. The second proposal will be in the amount of $10,050,000.

The total amount comes to just under the $33 million mark, at $32, 730,000.

Almont officials were set to present the revised numbers and had discussed trying to stay as close to $30 million as possible.

It was estimated the bond would be for five mills and be paid back in 15 to 17 years.

The new amount is just over half of the original $58.4 million that Almont voters soundly rejected on February 27.

Two major items axed from the old proposal and not part of the new plans are the field house, that was expected to cost around $18 million and a solar project.

“We heard what the public said and as a result, the board has decided to take off those things (field house and solar project) and make the bond a two part proposal that would be on the ballot,” said VonHiltmayer.

One proposal would come to just under $23 million, and if approved, it would provide updates for all three district buildings and the bus garage.

The second proposal would include the construction of eight classrooms and a ninth room that would have multiple uses. The estimated cost of that project is $10,050,000.

In the first proposal, while all three buildings–Orchard Primary, Almont Middle School and the High School –would all see improvements, the largest chunk of money would be spent at the High School.

According to a financial draft of the overall project, $14,500,000 would be spent in the High School.

Another $1.2 million would be spent in the Middle School while $1.1 million would be spent at Orchard Primary.

Work in the second proposal would be contingent on the first proposal passing, VonHiltmayer told the board.

“The only way proposal two works is if the first one passes,” she explained. “The first one can’t fail and then pass the second one. They are tied together. The first proposal could pass and not the second one. Obviously, we are hoping voters will consider this revised bond issue and support it.”

Much of the work that would be done at the Middle School is updating HVAC equipment.

Big ticket items listed for the High School include $1.1 million for all new administration offices, another $826,900 for an updated science program, $792,000 for for renovations to the band and choir spaces and another $773,400 for an updated media center.

Much of the equipment and furniture in the High School media center is original to the building.

Over $1 million would be spent on a new parking lot on the north side of the campus, if the bond is successful, $693,000 is planned for a new track and another $660,000 for new tennis courts.

New security and fire alarm systems, including safety windows ($396,000) and doors ($370,000) is planned for in the main proposal.