History of the Planning Process and Financial Considerations
The Thayer Central Board of Education is excited for the patrons of Thayer Central to vote on the proposed additions and renovations to our facilities. The bond election is set to vote on addressing multiple needs that the Board feels our students, communities and patrons can greatly benefit from.
This bond issue encompasses the top areas of needs that have been brought to our attention as the result of many years of listening to the public, students & staff. The proposed project would tie each of these areas together with the main focus being on Security, Safety and Special Education. The School Board has also tried to weigh the project cost, the amount of savings the District has and the timing as it relates to interest rates for borrowing.
Higher Security could be gained by connecting the Elementary to the High School, moving the Band room out of the North Shop, and limiting the amount of entrances for students and visitors. New, modern Disaster Shelters could be added so that everyone of our High School and Junior High School students could be in the safest space possible in the worst case scenario. This space can also be purposed for locker rooms. The District’s Parking situation would be improved to provide a safer area for young students to be dropped off and our older driving students to have their own area to enter and exit. This would also give our school more on-site parking for all activities throughout the year.
A positive bond outcome would also allow our District to give our SPED students & staff much needed space and regain a classroom that is intended for our K-6 classes. Additional Educational opportunities for our students would be modern FFA/Ag & Industrial Arts classrooms with a shared lab. This would let us expand our Career Pathways curriculum so we could offer students more opportunities for hands-on learning and possible Two Year college degree programs. These classrooms and a Visual Arts area could now be under the same roof as all of our other programs.
Being fiscally responsible is a focus of the School Board, to that end a plan to repurpose parts of our existing facilities helps achieve this. In this project there are targeted areas of renovation of existing spaces including the use of the 1953 gym as a Vocal Music & Instrumental Music classroom while still being flexible with the space to accommodate our Performing Arts such as the Play and Concerts throughout the school year.
Another area the Board feels should be addressed in this project is a new gymnasium. Since bringing our PreK-2nd grades to the main campus in 2016, the District has had to make adjustments in the amount of Physical Education that some of our students receive. Between PE, recess, and Junior High practices, we simply do not have enough court space to meet every child's physical activity requirements. Combine this with increased competition for practice times, another gym court would truly benefit in many ways.
The Board of Education understands their role to keep our facilities viable. We also realize that we represent all District patrons and that we need to be fiscally responsible in all of our planning and decisions. As an example, the Board, last fall, reduced the Special Building Fund request by over $900,000. The Board considered this to be the right thing to do related to addressing funds for facilities. The proposed bond would be in the amount to not exceed $5.27 million which would be set up over a 15-year term. Current interest rates place financing in the 1.5% range for the life of this bond schedule.
The Board does feel that taking this to a vote of the public is the appropriate action. The Board has proposed a project that takes care of over a dozen of the District’s top needs. With focus towards a due diligence to get the cost down, and with the current interest rates and the Building Contractors having to compete for our project, we feel that we are in the best position possible regarding the proposal.
Based of current data and planning the Board of Education, at this time, envisions this project to complete the Thayer Central campus for the foreseeable future.
The Thayer Central Board of Education wishes to thank all of our patrons for their attention and focus regarding this important Special Election. Please contact the school and/or the Board with questions and comments. It is our pleasure to engage all interested in gathering as much information as possible in preparing themselves to make an informed decision.