School board hears report on bond process
Representatives from HTK Architects met with the Concordia Unified School District 333 board of education during its regular meeting Monday night and presented a report on the collaborative planning process in moving toward a possible bond issue for facilities improvements.
The board of education approved a contract with HTK Architects during its August meeting.
HTK Architects will work with McCownGordon Construction, Manhattan, the district’s Construction Management At-Risk firm, on possible facilities improvements or new construction.
Potential projects could include improvements at Concordia Junior-Senior High School, Concordia Elementary School and the USD 333 Service Center (former Middle School).
Representing HTK Architects at the meeting included Mark Franzen, president; Brad Kiehl, director of project development; and Maria Kutina, who will be the project manager.
“We are going to bring a lot of ideas to the table, and you guys decide what fits for your community,” Franzen said.
Kiehl outlined the six steps toward a possible bond issue, and said they are currently in the pre-bond process which includes three phases, discovery, exploration and implementation.
“You are getting ready to embark on trying to figure out what to do with your facilities, what to do with education and what to do with your students and educators. So spending money, spending taxpayer money, is a big deal and we don’t want to do something that backs you into a corner in the future,” Kiehl said.
Kiehl said that community consensus building is critical throughout the entire process.
“We want to be transparent in what we are doing. We want to involve them (community) because their information is as vital as your educators’ and your students’ information, and your district leadership’s information and the board itself. All of that ties together,” Kiehl said.
The board was presented with two possible schedules for the process, one which would lead to a bond election in April, 2020 and another that would lead toward a possible election in September, 2020.
“We can move as quickly as you want or as slow as you want, but the important thing is that we do what is right for your district, what is right for your community, your students and your educators,” Kiehl said.
Should the board of education decide to shoot for an April bond election, it would have to approve a resolution by December 9, and the application would need to go to the state on December 10.
The board would need to consider the resolution in late November, according to the timeline presented by HTK Architects.
“To get to that point, we basically have two and a half months to dive into all this,”Kiehl said.
Kiehl said the longer timeline presented is not as rushed, but pushes everything into summer months of 2020.
Board member Kevin Pounds asked why would they not wait until the 2020 general election in November if it is decided to slow the process down instead of having a special election in late August or early November.
“Mail-in ballots generally receive more participation,” Kiehl said, “With our political climate the way it is today, you may want to avoid the general election based on the type of turnout you may get.”
In action taken during the meeting, the board approved a proposal for the construction of a 18x48 greenhouse on the west side of the technical education building at an estimated cost of $66,288.
During the June board meeting, Concordia Junior-Senior High School agriculture instructor Krystal Nelson and junior high school science instructor Bruce Jacobs met with the board to discuss the possible construction of a greenhouse on campus.
Nelson and Jacob outlined various uses for the greenhouse, including instruction in various subjects.
Working with the city of Concordia, the district put together a proposal for the construction of the 18x48 facility. The costs include $18,086 for the structure, $16,500 for installation, $11,000 for the foundation, $10,000 for the sewer line, $3,000 for electrical and $7,702 for doors, heater, cooler, etc.
Superintendent of schools Quentin Breese said that Nelson had raised some funds for the project, and that the district had applied for up to $40,000 in grants.
“I feel like this would be a good educational space,” Breese said.
The district will present the site plan for the greenhouse to the Concordia city commission for approval during its next meeting.
Work on the greenhouse could then begin in October.
The district will have $10,000 to help cover the cost of construction of the greenhouse after the board approved a partnership with Cunningham Telephone & Cable.
Kelly Struebing, USD 333 director of operations and technology director, informed the board that Cunningham is embarking on a project to get fiber optic to homes in Concordia, which would drop the cost of internet and increase the speed.
Cunningham needs locations throughout Concordia for hubs for the fiber optic cables.
The school district was approached by Cunningham about the possible use of school property for one of the hubs, which will be a 10x20 concrete building which has a vault where all of the fiber connections will come in.
The hub would be located south of the greenhouse near the alley between 11th and 12th Streets.
Cunningham proposed a 20-year contract, with an option to renew, for a 15x20 space for the concrete building, and will pay the school district $10,000 to go toward the greenhouse project and $300 per year.
That agreement was approved by the board.
Also approved by the board during the meeting was a resolution to refinance a portion of the outstanding Series 2013 bonds.
Breese informed the board that the current interest rate on the bonds is 4.22 percent, and that the projected interest rate after refinancing is 2.58 percent. That could lead to an estimated savings to the district of $340,145.04 over the life of the bonds.
Voters in the district approved a $5.5 million bond issue in the fall of 2013 to construct the FEMA shelter addition at the elementary school, replace the HVAC system at the elementary school and for energy efficiency upgrades throughout the district.
The board also approved an updated automated external defibrillator procedure for the district, a Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas agreement with Head Start and rescheduling the board meetings which were scheduled during Fall Break for October 7 and during Spring Break for March 16.
Concordia High School athletic director Steen Danielsen gave a presentation to the board on the possible implementation of a district athletic and activities page. It would replace the athletics tab on the district's website and provide information on all athletic events and activities.
There would be a one-time cost of $1,500 to establish the athletics and activities web page, or $900 for just athletics.
Should the district move forward with the web page, the company setting it up would contact area businesses to sell advertising and signage that would be placed in the gymnasiums and stadium.
The web page manager would receive 50 percent of the income from the advertising and the school district would receive 50 percent.
The board met with Breese in executive session for 15 minutes for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel.
The board accepted the retirement of junior-senior high school secretary Julie Smith.