Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Community News

January 14, 2012

School bond vote is now official

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Getting some big projects done without any tax increases — not a bad deal as Pauls Valley school officials voted this week to call for a bond election in early April.

Members of the local school board made it official by giving their approval to what amounts to a $5.7 million bond issue spread out in a series over 10 years that if approved by voters would address a trio of projects plus new buses.

The issue is actually split into two ballot resolutions with the bulk going to pay for a renovation of the junior high auditorium, a renovation and expansion of the football fieldhouse and various upgrades to the Wacker Park gym.

A second part of the overall bond issue is for a handful of brand new school buses.

Equally important to school officials is this upcoming bond issue would be like a smaller one done last year as no tax increases would be felt by property owners in the Pauls Valley School District.

“What we’re looking at is another no tax increase bond issue,” said J.C. Leonard, who is again serving as the board’s financial advisor for the bond issue.

“I have the building resolution and another for transportation,” he said. “These will be voted separately again.”

The reference is to two related but separate items being placed on the ballot for an election to be held April 3.

The first is a $5.15 million total focused on a trio of building improvement projects.

While addressing the board at a meeting this week architect Wayne Leatherbury said the total cost projections for all three are in the range of $3.7 million.

He and others are quick to stress there is plenty of “wiggle” room because the actual costs are for now far from certain.

For example, Leatherbury said there are so many unknown factors about the junior high auditorium and fieldhouse projects the projected costs are sure to go up.

Expected to see the biggest hit is the total cost of the park gym project.

“The project that went up the most is the gymnasium renovation,” Leatherbury said.

“The state fire marshal sees this project as a renovation to the gym area as well.”

He said original plans were to do little if anything to the gym and focus the upgrades on the locker room areas. Based on a fire marshal’s conclusion that has changed.

In addition to the locker room renovations, now the plan is to possibly use fire retardant paint to cover wood panels in the gym, place fire alarms and add a few new windows.

All of that means a higher cost than originally projected, Leatherbury said.

“Keep in mind these are remodel projects and there are unknowns in all three,” he said.

Other unknowns for the trio of projects are the actual construction costs, financing over time, building fees and other costs.

“It’s a total package for all of that over 10 years,” Leonard said about the bond issue total for the construction projects.

The issue’s second proposition is $550,000 for new buses.

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