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School Committee Recommends $19.4 Million Bond Issue

The School District of University City school board will vote on the recommendation at its meeting Nov. 15. If approved, the issue would appear on the April 2013 ballot.

The facilities steering committee for the School District of University City Thursday night recommended seeking a $19.4 million bond issue in April 2013.

The committee made its recommendation at a board workshop meeting. The committee, which met several times over the past few weeks, had three overall recommendations for the board. They are:

  • The School District of University City place a $19.4 million, no tax rate increase bond issue on the April 2, 2013 ballot
  • The projects to be covered by the bond issue are the Tier 1 projects (as shown below), followed by the Tier 2 projects; which administration and the Board of Education should select from the Tier 2 projects to complete the $19.4 million
  • The Board of Education directs the administration to develop and the Board should adopt a long-range plan to address major projects and future bond issues.

The school district bonding capacity is 15 percent of the district's total assessed valuation, which is approximately $600 million. There is roughly $30 million in outstanding bonds, which gives the district the ability to bond the nearly $20 million without a tax increase.

Co-Chair David Harris presented the plan to the board. He said the steering committee worked in sub-groups to review the needs of the district and rank their priority. 

The steering committee reviewed a list of facility needs proposed by district administration and whether the needs were a safety or ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) need or if they were a programmatic need. Program needs are ones where facilities are outdated or fail to meet the current curriculum needs of students.

The Tier 1 list agreed upon by the steering committee represents about 96 percent of the proposed bond issue. Harris said the school board and administration should review the Tier 2 projects and assess which should be covered under the proposed bond.

Tier 1 Projects 

Location Project Total Cost Estimate Life Safety/ADA Program Need UCHS Library and classroom addition $8,675,000 X Fourth floor renovations $1,794,000 X X Gymnasium roof replacement - competition gym $1,020.000 X Gymnasium roof replacement - practice gyms $742,000 X
Gymnasium HVAC replacement - competition gym $588,000 X Gymnasium HVAC replacement - practice gym $280,000 X Athletic Department renovations $2,811,000 X Stadium ADA modifications $50,000 X Athletic practice field reconditioning $70,000 Natatorium upgrades (painting and pool deck lighting) $150,000 X Brittany Woods New elevator $252,000 X
Window replacement $781,000 X Replace all old lockers $151,000 X
Gym and locker room renovations (HVAC, sound system) $682,000 X Band room, choir room and art room renovation $112,000 X Flynn Park Replace windows $319,000 X Jackson Park Replace windows $285,000 X TOTAL $18,762,00  

Tier 2 Projects

Location Project Total Cost Estimate Life Safety/ADA Program Need High School Auditorium upgrades (sound system, projector, carpet, lighting, etc.) $455,000 Stadium concrete and railing repairs $491,000 X Stadium flatworks repairs $39,000 X Stadium Drainage $235,000 X Brittany Woods Science classroom renovations $560,000 Renovate little theater $78,000 X Athletic field and track improvements $319,000 TOTAL $2,177,000

The steering committee was composed of volunteers from throughout the community. The members include David Harris, co-chair; Joycelyn Barnes, co-chair; Garry Aronberg; Ellen Bern; Hyla Bondareff; Keith Cole; Derrick Coley; James Cotter; Bob Elgin; Kevin Grawer; Robert Griffin, UCFT rep; Langston Jackson; Joy Lieberman; Billie Mayo; Victor Pichon; Linda Pritchard; Gene Ruth; Stephen Selipsky; Calla Smorodin; Jonathon Spetner; Cindy Thierry; Kathleen Watts; Mae Etta Weston; Radazaih Whittington, UCHS student; and Christy Willey, UCEA rep.

Staff members include Joylynn Pruitt, superintendent of schools; Scott Hafertepe, CFO; Karl Scheidt, executive director, operations; Shantana Stewart, interim director of communications; Michael Maclin, UCHS principal; and Patrick Oligschlaeger, director of athletics.

The April 2013 bond issue was presented as part of a larger plan to refurbish school facilities between now and 2020. More on the overall plan will be presented in a subsequent story on Patch.

Gregory Pace November 02, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The high school "library and class room addition" (line item for $8,675K) will build a new class room wing at the HS. Do we need more classrooms? Of course not! Karl Scheidt admitted this during the discussion. Enrollment in U City Schools has been dropping for decades. And expanding the library is so 1970s. Data sits on servers in the cloud. It comes to you via WiFi and 4G wireless service. Presentation is via smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc. The superintendent claimed that MSIP requires that a school library must accommodate seating for three classes. You can review that claim on page 11 of this document: dese.mo.gov/divimprove/lmc/documents/library_standards_08.pdf where you will find the number is two (2) class rooms not three. But more importantly this is a recommendation. It is not a requirement of accreditation. And I assume this seating recommendation is intended for elementary schools. What high school classes are taking field trips to the library? I went to high school in the early 70s and I don't ever remember a teacher taking a class to the library. You used the library individually before school, after school, and during study hall (via a library pass) to work on an assignment. The idea that our beautiful library at the high school is too small is ludicrous. Again, one must remember that this library was built to serve a much larger student population than exists today. And students today do most of their research via the web not the library.

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