School bond likely to increase

Voters will be asked to approve a bond next spring that will finance a major renovation of Oak Harbor High School.

Whatever bond package is presented, the dollar amount will be higher than originally anticipated.

School officials are considering three options to present to voters with each increasing the amount of work done to the high school.

“The dollar amount listed on these three options is about $3 million too low at this point,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said during the Monday evening Oak Harbor School Board meeting.

He said higher than expected construction inflation caused the increase in costs. He said construction costs could rise again in the next six to 18 months when rebuilding areas destroyed by hurricane Katrina begins.

He didn’t have a dollar figure on how much the 2003 high school renovation bond, which voters rejected, would cost today.

Option A calls for replacing the electrical, plumbing and roofing systems in portions of the high school that was built in 1972 and modifying the same systems to the portions of the building built in 1991. The plan also includes upgrading walls, doors and windows; improving technology infrastructure; improving buildings to meet ADA codes and building additions to replace classrooms made unusable by highway widening and ADA restroom changes.

The original cost for Option A would be covered by a $36.7 million bond and $15.6 million in state matching money.

Option B would pay for everything covered in the first option. It would add enlarging small classrooms, expanding the cafeteria, and installing technology infrastructure consistently through the whole school. Plans also call for expanding vocational and career areas and building additions to expand the number of classrooms to help relieve class size.

The original cost for Option B would be paid for by a $42 million bond and $16.4 million in state matching money.

Option C would include everything in the first two options plus remodeling and upgrading the portions of the school built in 1991. The original cost for the proposal would be paid for by a $48.7 million bond and $16.4 million in state matching money.

Schulte said there hasn’t been any decision yet on what kind of bond should be presented to voters.

“We’re still considering which of these three options to present to the school board,” Schulte said. He said the main difference between the proposals is how much work needs to be done on the parts of the school that was built in 1991, which isn’t eligible for state matching money until 2011. Should officials wait until then to upgrade that portion of the campus, they would also have to take into account inflation that would increase costs further.

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