3 new schools, performing arts center among $181.28 million proposal
Mustang school board members took the plunge Monday and called for the district’s largest bond proposal in school history.
Voters will decide the fate of the $181.28 million bond proposal that will build three new schools on Feb. 14 in a special election.
To address the district’s overall growth, administrators have dwindled down a bond project list, collected by the district’s Long Range Planning Committee over two years, that originally started at $500 million.
The district’s eighth elementary for $17 million, a third intermediate school for $21 million and a third middle school for $24 million are three of the biggest items in the proposal. Then the most expensive project is a new performing arts center for $24.5 million.
Other priority projects include a new band room at Canyon Ridge Intermediate for $1 million. At the high school, priority projects named are $3.7 million for relocating the district’s transportation facility, $2.9 million for a new 11,00 sq. ft. freshman cafeteria, $8.2 million for a new 31,464 sq. ft. science academy and $2.5 million for eight new classrooms (9,200 sq. ft.).
In total, these priority projects add up to $105.5 million.
Additional projects in the second phase of the bond proposal include a full-size astroturf practice field at the high school for approximately $5 million, a new educational resources center, warehouse, soccer facility improvements, tennis court relocation and construction and a new HS wrestling room.
Another $15 million in projects will also be in the bond proposal for departmental needs and/or requests such as HVAC, textbooks, STEM, technology, buses and land purchase.
Despite some community concerns, Board President Chad Fulton said a new high school did not make the project list. He said to do so would divide the community.
“One high school is the path this board has taken,” he said.
Superintendent Sean McDaniel said the district has chosen a lease-revenue bond route. By doing so, he said district will save some $60 million, including inflation, by borrowing the money up front instead of going with general obligation bonds. With GO bonds, he said, the district would have to wait much longer to complete.
“This is the only way to build multiple projects and to build more. We believe we are saving on the inflation costs… It outweighs going with GO bonds and we get the projects now when we need them.”
If the bond issue passes, district officials report it will have “little to no effect on taxes.”
“Our board has made a commitment to keeping tax rates as steady as possible for the patrons in this district and they have done that by making a commitment to stay within a 28 mill level,” school spokesperson Shannon Rigsby said. “Thanks to the property value growth, our bond issues have always come in below that.”