The first of three planned community input nights was held at Platteview High School over the district’s proposed bond issue on Thursday.
Springfield Platteview Schools is moving forward with asking voters to approve a bond to pay for improvements and expansions to the district’s facilities, including the district’s four school buildings, the administration building and the maintenance center.
Repairs, upgrades and more space are all headlines for the bond issue.
As an almost fitting case-in-point for the bond issue, the informational meeting was shifted from Platteview High’s cafeteria to the gym because the building’s air conditioners malfunctioned.
Superintendent Brett Richards apologized for the discomfort.
The district presented a more concise plan for the bond issue with information gathered since the first series of meetings held last fall.
The presentation was given by DLR Group who has been performing research for the district and underlining needs. Here are some of the highlights of DLR’s findings:
• Westmont Elementary, constructed in 1974, suffers from a lack of security and building access control. The absence of permanent walls poses a challenge in the case of stopping a would-be intruder from having free rein of the building. Also, the acoustics of thin portable walls creates a noise issue, making it difficult to isolate sound in one classroom and keep it from interfering in surrounding rooms.
• Springfield Elementary, built in 1960, is currently 103 percent over capacity counting 286 students enrolled, excluding students in the portable classrooms on the north side of the school. The district would like to build on to the school itself and get rid of the portable classrooms. More security is needed there as well, as well as a pre-school classroom.
• Platteview Central Junior High School, built in 1974, has inadequate gym space leading students to travel to the high school’s gyms to use them instead. A connection hall is desired to join the two buildings, and the science lab needs to be remodeled. Central was originally built as an elementary school, and only later became a junior high.
• Platteview High School suffers from a lack of security, outdated and small science labs and a need for more outdoor equipment storage at the track and football field. A guidance area is also desired for students.
Each building is also feeling the heat, so to speak, due to outdated heating and air conditioning systems, evidenced on the meeting night at the high school. Improper ventilation causes mold worries in the locker room at the high school, while windows in each building are sorely in need of an upgrade, the DLR report said.
Then there are the issues of lighting, energy use and communications, among others. New to the wishlist was a proposal for an on-site baseball and softball complex for the new high school sports the district has agreed to sponsor and which will hold their first games this season.
In total, 66,923 square feet of space needs to be added between the four schools, not including parking and traffic solutions to ease flow into and out of the schools during pick-up and drop-off times.
To do everything DLR suggests, it would cost the district approximately $56.8 million. However, documentation from the forum proposed a bond ranging from $15 million to $30 million.
Springfield Platteview’s district tax levy is $1.0784, the second-lowest in the area. Only Bellevue’s is less at $1.049. Gretna’s is the highest at $1.3901.
A $15-million bond, if passed, would raise the levy 11.1 cents. For a home valued at $125,000, taxpayers would see a property tax increase of $138.75 annually. An agricultural landowner would see a property valued at $472,800 generate a $523.92 annual tax increase.
A brief survey was done with the crowd in the gym, who were given electronic clickers to enter their answers onto the projector. When asked if they understood and agree with the scope of the project, 84 percent of the 32 respondents said yes.
When asked if the schools needed additional program space, 84 percent said yes. When asked which school should be the top prioritys, 45 percent voted for the elementary schools, 10 percent chose the junior high. No one chose the high school and 45 percent wanted all of the buildings.
The next public meeting will be held Aug. 22 at the high school’s cafeteria. A third meeting will be held Sept. 3, at 7 p.m., at the same location.
The Springfield Platteview school board hopes to consider a draft recommendation for a possible bond at its Sept. 9 meeting. That draft will be made available and be based on feedback and input from the meetings.