By BECKY KISER
After studying the issue for more than a year, the Hays USD 489 facilities needs committee is ready to offer a draft plan to the community for a district-wide upgrade of buildings.
During its meeting Friday morning, the group voted to pass along its recommendation to the school board. The price tag on the projects is approximately $100 million, which is proposed to be funded by a bond issue.
“This is a conceptual design, and we fully expect the board to do some tweaking,” said co-chairman Patrick Lowry.
“This process has been extremely enlightening in how everything works. There just hasn’t been much maintenance and upkeep of our district buildings the past 30 years, and they’re nearing the end of their useful life,” added co-chairman Bryce Young.
Several committee members expressed concern about the cost, although just one person, Paul Briseno, voted against the final draft.
“It’s going to take a lot of education of the public,” said member Tom Drees.”Tough, but doable, I think.”
The project would involve upgrades at each building in the district, including more than $27 million at Hays High School alone.
It also would lead to the decommissioning of Rockwell Administration Center and closing Washington Elementary School as an education center.
The committee’s executive summary says increasing space and curriculum demands call for “significant expansions and maintenance updates across the district.”
The cost to build new across the district would be $188 million, the report says.
Much of the costs included in the overall plan focus on deferred maintenance, projects put off over the course of years that have led to significant needs.
Safety/security measures and education space also were key factors in the committee’s recommendation. The recommendation also takes into account both current needs and anticipated future growth.
Several options for a bond issue are offered as possibilities, including separating the tax increases into three separate bond issues.
For the owner of a $100,000 home, the property tax cost to offset the bond repayment — whether for 20 or 30 years, or over one or three bond issues — would range from $17.06 to $21.85 monthly.