The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 9 with the Broken Bow Municipal Building (314 S 10th Ave) serving as the polling place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must be registered online by October 22 or in-person by October 29.
The proposed $29.9 million bond includes demolition of the 1938 middle school, new construction, and renovations for the middle and high school. (Click here for the October 1 story.) Specific areas for Agriculture, Auto, Metals, Woods, Athletics, and Performing Arts will be created as well as additional classroom space. Many areas will be renovated and upgraded for functionality and safety including science labs, main entrance, lobby/commons area, and gymnasium.
During the community tour on Tuesday evening, Superintendent Darren Tobey and board members Tom Osmond, Pam Holcomb, and Amy Staples showed the current facilities and answered questions.
Some of the topics discussed on Tuesday night:
- Renovation costs to address the issues of safety, ADA, ventilation, plumbing, fire code, mechanical systems would cost approximately $10 million as discovered in a facility assessment completed a few years ago
- Top priorities cannot fit into the 1938 building
- Asbestos abatement is built into the middle school demolition bid of approximately $300,000
- New auditorium would sit approximately 700 people as opposed to the current 500
- The new fine arts facilities would allow students to have their own space in those areas rather than sharing with athletics
Other questions included,
- Why not utilize places like the sale barn of the community college to allow students more hands-on ag/CTE experiences? Mr. Tobey said the concern is the time it takes to transport kids back and forth cuts down on learning time as well as the concern of liability at off-site locations
- BBPS wants to address and expand agriculture and vocational trade facilities to better prepare students who are not interested in attending a four-year college
“Sometimes it cuts down on the education as a whole because we’re taking a day off to give other kids some experience while if we had a big enough area all 20 kids would be getting that experience every single day,” Mr. Tobey said regarding the shop areas.
If the bond passes, the goal is to start construction on May 1, 2022. The transition plan includes renovating part of the high school in order to move middle school students over for a year. The goal for completion is early fall 2023 for academics spaces, fine arts center and gym would likely be completed later that fall.
“It’s $29.9 million over a 25-year-span. We need to make $1.6 million to make our our interest and principle payments a year which is roughly 16 cents that we’d have to tax. We’re confident that we can say it’s really only going to affect the tax payers 11 cents because right now you’re paying almost 5 cents on the North Park bond which will be paid off three years earlier than anticipated. I give credit to the board for taking some money and refinancing it and being able to pay that bond off early. It’s never a good time to spend $29.9 million,” Mr. Tobey said.
Board members Pam Holcomb and Tom Osmond said the school board is able to tax up to 14 cents as part of the special building fund and could piece together the funds each year, but Holcomb said she would rather ask for the 16 cents and have support from the community through the November 9 election.
A “Plan B” depends on the outcome of the current proposed project. Tom Osmond said if the tax asking is 14 cents, the board makes that decision each year and a plan might not be completed.
“The problem with taxing the 14 cents if the board happens to change and decides not to–you’re stuck. Every year you make that decision. So if the board changes and is a more conservative board then you lose out and not get anywhere. Or you start planning and you can’t complete that plan because it won’t be funded. It’s better to get the community to approve it and then it’s there for you–if the board changes or not–you pay for that bond when it happens. It stinks to ask for that money–I hate asking for money–but I can’t see another way around it, me personally,” board president Tom Osmond said.
“Our campaign is 100% just trying to get people in our building and see what we’re working with, that’s it. A majority of you have probably seen our gym and seen our fine arts center and that’s about it. We’re just trying to get the information out there to people this is what we’re working with, this is what we’d like to have, these are our numbers that we can currently utilize in our classes, these are the numbers that we would like to have in some of those classes,” Mr. Tobey said.
Additional information on the Broken Bow Public Schools bond project is available at BuildBowTogether.com.
KCNI/KKBN will be livestreaming the Community Tour/Meeting on Wednesday, October 27.
Middle School Auditorium
Wednesday, October 27
Tour: 6 PM; Meeting 7 PM
Community Tour/ Meeting
Middle School Auditorium
Monday, November 1
Tour: 5:30 PM; Meeting (Cobblestone Hotel): 7 PM