Vote Yes For Lolo School

Lolo School District's Bond Proposal

For moving the K-4 to the Farm Lane 20 acres

The Fall 2013 Lolo School bond issue failed by 43 votes. Through community input sessions, board meetings and individual conversations the Lolo School District and its Board of Trustees have been asked to run the bond issue again. The request will be for the same $10.5 but with slightly less taxpayer impact.

What adjustments have been made from the last bond request?

  1. Slight decrease in taxpayer impact in spite of same bond request amount.
    1. Bond interest rates have slightly decreased. The updated estimated tax impact would be just slightly less on taxpayers than the previous bond election’s impact. Prior bond issue estimated tax impact on $100,000 home was about $132/year; new bond issue estimated tax impact estimate is about $125/year. On a $200,000 home, prior bond issue impact was about $263/year and new bond issue impact would be about $251/year.
    2. The taxable value of the Lolo School District community continues to improve, helping decrease individual tax impact over the duration of the bond.
  2. Design improvements/gains:
    1. Library structure now included as compared to a top priority add-on in last proposal.
    2. Improved and expanded future vehicle access for pick up/drop off.
    3. Increased play areas for students.
  3. Construction completion date delayed until Summer 2016 due to a later bond passage.
  4. Design adjustments due to delay-related inflationary costs: Due to the delay of the bond issue, there would be inflationary costs to contend with in the construction of the project. Using a 3% estimate, that equates to what would roughly be at least $250,000 more to build the same building as proposed before. However, the project can still come within the previous $10.5 million request amount thanks to further design refinements and adjustments have been made by the architects, engineers, general contractor and school representatives.
    1. Entire facility moved further east and a bit further north on the property to reduce the costs of connecting to utilities and reducing the length of various asphalt entrances to the school facility.
    2. Simplified design and reduced square footage without sacrificing the critical room for growth and educational flexibility.
    3. Adjusting building orientation and window placements for better energy efficiency.

Answers to other questions heard during and since the fall bond election

Is the previous bond issue from the 1990’s paid off now?
Yes – fully paid off this last summer.
What impact will bond interest rates have on our taxes if we wait until later to build?
It is much more financially prudent to build now while interest rates are at an all time historic low! If we wait until later to build when the interest rates are higher, every 1% increase in interest rate on the bond issue amount represents an approximate $1.4 million further increase in tax impact over the 20 year bond period!
Is this an entire school or half a school?
Lolo School District operates with two schools on its current location – a K-4 elementary and a 5-8 middle school. The proposed new Farm Lane School would be an entire K-4 elementary school. The existing campus, with slight adjustments, would house the entire 5-8 middle school with more space for them.
Why not build both the elementary school and the middle school?
It would cost over $7 million more to add the 5-8 middle school to the new K-4 elementary construction project – an amount well beyond Lolo’s current legal bonding capacity and likely beyond taxpayer’s ability to pay. The K-4 elementary is designed with that future option in mind, however.
Is it more costly to run two schools?
With the closure of the lower building and the partial closure of the upper building, energy savings will occur on the existing site. However, there will be some overall energy cost increases given the addition of the larger new facility, even though the new facility is much more energy efficient. We expect an overall half time position increase for maintenance and an overall full time position increase for food service. Teaching and administrative staff are expected to remain the same.
Is it less costly to build new on the 20 acres than remodel and add on at the existing campus?
Yes. Remodeling costs, especially on a hillside, are far greater than building new on the flat 20 acres. Further, remodeling on the current campus doesn’t solve the lack of facility/playground/traffic space caused by the hillside and Hwy 93.
How much would it cost to repair and improve the lower old school building?
Over $1 million to install fire suppression, ventilation, handicapped accessible bathrooms and other rooms, replace the 60 year old boiler, install egress windows and repair flooring, plumbing, electrical and foundational concerns. And even then, it would still be a 50-100 year old worn out building. A bad expenditure of taxpayer funds for such a partial short term solution.
Can’t the new school be built for less?
Building a solid construction building now saves long term dollars and hassles for later. The design is for practical and cost effective construction. Reducing the quality of materials and design results in problems down the road – akin to our current facilities. Reducing square footage of the building results in loss of classrooms, the library, the gymnasium and other spaces that are critically needed.
What will be done to the existing campus to accommodate 5-8?
The lower building would be closed. The middle school main classrooms and offices would be located in the two middle buildings – both connected by an inner hallway and thus becoming a much safer and more secure facility for students and staff. The upper building would continue to provide the food service, needed gym space and likely library and other occasional services. Parts of the upper building (likely the K/1 wing) would not be used (to decrease utility costs and custodial costs). The kindergarten modular could possibly be sold.

Why is there a need for a new school?

Lack of safety & security and substantial maintenance issues

  • Dangerous location on Highway 93 for student and adults, pedestrians and vehicle.
  • Too many shared buildings and required entrances result in multiple security problems.
  • 1905-1950/60's lower building is worn out: serious issues with floors, foundation, roof, electrical, plumbing, ventilation, ADA, fire suppression issue — well past being able to fix or remodel the building to meet safety and educational demands.
  • 1970's upper building has too many classrooms with unsecured access to bathrooms, office, cafeteria, library and resource rooms; too many entrances without adult-monitored access; and additional fire suppression issues.
  • Steeply sloped site with lots of stairs creates continual safety, ADA and maintenance issues.
  • Old heating / cooling systems result in lack of energy efficiency and increased energy bills.

Lack of space

  • 624 student enrollment continuing to increase and projected to increase further for next 10+ years.
  • Overcrowded cafeteria, kitchen and storage. 630 students have to eat lunch in 1.5 hours (10 minutes per grade level) due to lack of space.
  • No more classroom space available without losing technology, tutoring support & possibly HPE gym space.
  • Lack of space for tutoring, special education and emotionally high needs students, team-work / project based learning opportunities, extra-classrooms for smaller classes, library resources, science classrooms, and performing arts / visual arts.
  • Steeply sloped site lacks space to expand facility without loss of limited playgrounds and sports fields.

Community has needs for more

  • Gym space
  • Athletic field space
  • After-school program space
  • Meeting space
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What does the proposal include?

  • New K-4 facility, with gym, food service area, offices, and library to be built on Farm Lane, doors opening to students Fall 2016.
  • Existing 5-8 is able to move / expand into the existing campus' newer middle buildings and part of upper buildings on existing campus with minor adjustments.
  • 5-8 gains a gym, more work space, its own food service area.

Who was involved in creating and recommending this proposal?

Several years of initial analysis and board discussion with numerous community involvment. 30 sessions where held that included participation from community, parent, student, business and school members spending 4 days of intense analysis / brainstorming / final recommendations.

When is the bond election and how much would it cost?

Election: Mail ballots will be sent out February 20 with final election day on March 12.

Cost: $10.5 million bond with approximate tax impact of $225 / year (less than $20 / month) on $200,000 home.

With historically low bond rates, a prudent time to request a bond in order to lessen tax impact / get more for the money.

If the bond issue fails, what are the potential consequences?

Continued safety / security risks

Overcrowding

Likely loss of space for tutoring, technology, extra classrooms

Additional costs for temporary solutions that would otherwise be spent on permanent solution

Architectural illustrations from CTA Group