The Ballard school board held a special meeting Sept. 24 to discuss the details of a bond referendum for the renovation of the Ballard Middle School.
Two bond scenarios were discussed. The first was an amount of $18,800,000 that would span 21 years. The second scenario was an amount of $19,650,000 that would span 22 years.
The current debt limit for the Ballard School District, as outlined by Travis Squires of Piper Jaffray, is $17.5 million. With valuation growth of 3 percent (a conservative estimate that is around 60 percent of the historical average), the debt limit rises to $23.7 million July 1, 2020. Ballard’s current, existing debt is scheduled to be paid in full in 2029.
“Largely now, with the growth in the sales tax, your district has a little more margin than you had in 2010 with the high school,” said Squires.
Following the Piper Jaffray presentation on bonding capacity and financing options, Story Construction gave a detailed report of the costs associated with the renovation and addition. Cost estimates were also provided for adding safe entries to Ballard East and Ballard West elementary schools, improvements to the high school stadium and improvements to other areas of the high school campus.
The board discussed the importance of adding secure entries to the elementary schools and the immediate need for improvements to the stadium, and unanimously agreed to add those into the bond referendum language. To accommodate these additional projects, the board discussed the option of reallocating some dollars from the athletic budget to get to a recommended bond amount of $19,850,000.
The official motion was to direct administration to begin conversation with bond counsel for a bond referendum of $19.85 million to include renovation and additions to the middle school, the addition of safe entries to East and West Elementary schools, and to make high school stadium improvements.
The council’s recommendation has been passed along to the bond counsel to create the language for the official document which will then be reviewed and approved by the board. It is anticipated that the referendum will be ready for a December vote by the public and the bond will require 60 percent voter approval in order to pass. Construction would begin Spring 2019, with total completion the summer of 2020.