By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays USD 489 school board Monday night heard a summary of projects from its architect and construction manager that could be the district’s next bond issue.
DLR Group along with Nabholz Construction presented a list of projects totaling $29.4 million that would include finishing air conditioning projects at the Hays High School, expanding the cafeteria at Hays Middle School and renovating Roosevelt Elementary School to accommodate five sections of each grade.
Roosevelt now holds three sections of each grade. The expansion would allow the district to close Lincoln Elementary School, which is one of the oldest schools in the district and has had serious infrastructure problems in recent years.
Some work on the HHS HVAC system has already been finished with capital improvement funds, but an additional $6.7 million is needed to complete the work.
The HMS cafeteria was built to hold about 450 children, but is now accommodating about 700 students. Expansion of the cafeteria would cost $1.3 million.
The suggested renovation and expansion at Roosevelt would cost about $21.3 million and include new classrooms, an expanded cafeteria to meet the needs of the increased student population and a new gym that would serve as a storm shelter. Roosevelt does not currently have a storm shelter.
Existing classrooms would be renovated, the HVAC system improved and some exterior improvements would be made.
The entrance of the school would be relocated to the new addition. This would allow for separate lanes for car and bus drop off.
“Roosevelt, it really had the best assets. The one issue it did have was that it didn’t have a storm shelter, and we are solving that,” said Amber Beverlin, principal senior architect DLR Group. “It had great classroom spaces. The classrooms that are there now are perfect size. We can build on all the great things this building already has.”
The Roosevelt project would take 16 to 18 months to complete.
Dustin Avey, senior vice president Piper Jaffray, presented options for 10-, 15- and 20-year financing. He noted the district would pay less in interest under a shorter term, but the taxpayer would pay a higher per moth tax for a 10-year versus 15-year bond.
The district would pay $5 million more in interest by increasing the bond term from 1o year to 15 years.
The cost per month on a $150,000 home for a 10-year bond would be $16.32, $12 per month for a 15-year bond and $10.06 for a 20-year bond.
The mill levy would be 11.35 mills for a 10-year bond, 8.35 mills for a 15-year bond and 7 mills for a 20-year bond.
The bond amount would include design and bond fees, and costs for furnishing the renovated spaces.
The board members asked the presenters questions, but did not discuss the merits of the proposal nor did they vote on moving the proposal forward.
The district would not need approval from the state to move forward with a bond vote. Beverlin said if the board wished to pursue the proposal, they would only need to notify the county clerk of its desire to call a special election. This requires 60 days notice. Beverlin recommended a mail-in ballot.
Hays has had two failed bond issues in the last three years. A $78.5-million bond failed in November 2017, and a $94-million bond failed in June 2016.
A parent addressed the board about his daughter being bullied at Lincoln Elementary School. He said someone at the school was supposed to contact him about his concerns, but no one called him. Board members expressed concern about the issue and directed Superintendent John Thissen to take the parent’s information and follow up on his concerns.
The school district recently purchased the former Oak Park Medical Complex, which it plans to renovate for use by Early Childhood Connections.
HaysMed had a majority interest in the complex and Monday donated $500,000 of the $2 million purchase price back to the school district to be used for renovations. The district has also received a $1.47 million federal grant for renovations.
Gary Sechrist, field specialist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, provided the superintendent applicant information to the board during an executive session. Current Superintendent John Thissen has resigned. He will serve out his contract, which ends June 30.
At the next board meeting, the board is scheduled to vote on the administrative contracts for Shanna Dinkel, assistant superintendent, and Chris Hipp, director of special education, for the 2019-2020 school year.
Board member Pauls Adams also asked the board to consider moving to interest-based bargaining with teachers. Thissen said he would contact the Hays NEA to see if they were interested in the change. The issue will be discussed at a future meeting.