This month we should see the completion of our athletic facilities project. We are very happy with the outcome of the project and have heard many, many positive things from our students, our staff, our community, and visitors from around the area. What many may not know is how much we were able to accomplish in this one project. It wasn’t just a football field.
Here is a list of what was done:
- New parking – 120 spaces
- Multipurpose room for wrestling, dance, and spring baseball, softball and track practices
- Outdoor accessible bathrooms for football, track, and soccer
- New concession stand for football, track, and soccer
- New shot put and discuss areas, new long jump and triple jump areas, and new pole vault area
- Bleachers for football, track and soccer that seat 1,500 people
- Expanded storage underneath the bleachers at the high school
- Press box and announcing booth that has eight compartments for football, track, and soccer
- New lights for football, track, and soccer
- Artificial turf football and soccer field
- Lights for baseball and softball
- Announcing booths for baseball and softball
- Storage under the softball announcing booth
- Bathrooms at the baseball and softball fields
- Concession stand at the baseball and softball fields
- New sound systems for all three announcing booths
- Updated HVAC system in old boy’s locker room
- New blacktop south end of the high school
Not only did we accomplish a lot, we were also able to take advantage of how businesses operate to save taxpayers money. We were able to go to bid without the construction companies knowing how much money we had to spend. Typically, you would go to referendum for the amount you had estimated the project to cost. The bids then typically come in at or above the estimate for the project. We were able to get truly competitive bids because of the process we were able to use.
Our low bid came in 12% less than the estimate – This never happens with a referendum. We also did not have to spend money to run a referendum, did not spend more due to increased building materials costs having to wait for a referendum, and paid less in interest over the ten year bond. As a result, we were able to save between 15% and 25% of the initial estimated cost. And, even with this project, the average mill rate for the school district went down this year from 10.28 to 10.18.
The School Board knows that there is some concern about how this project was funded and they have kept that issue at the forefront of their work. It is also important to know that the school district was able to accomplish a substantial amount of improvements while still being financially efficient and ensuring that tax rates decreased this year.