The Neligh-Oakdale School Board voted 5-1 on Tuesday night to place a $6.995 million bond issue on the November 4 ballot.
Click here to read the ballot language for the bond issue.
Board member Del Ames cast the lone dissenting vote. Ames said he voted against the measure "not because I don't want the bond, I just don't like the time." Earlier in the meeting, he stated that he would like to wait until March because, historically, it has been proven as "a better time to pass a bond."
Members of the school board stated that the bond will help correct life safety concerns pinpointed by the state fire marshal, as well as security issues at the East Ward and West Ward buildings.
At East Ward, the bond will include moving the main office to the front of the building for better security; enclosing the walkway to the band room for security purposes and energy efficiency; and correcting the fire marshal's deficiencies by installing fire doors, fire sprinklers, a stairway upgrade, HVAC system, renovating the multi-purpose room and upgrading hoods in the kitchen, according to Brad Higgins, chairman of the building and grounds committee.
The fire marshal is mandating several changes at the West Ward site as well. Higgins said changes at West Ward include installing fire sprinklers, renovating existing classrooms and adding classroom space to ensure every room has an exit. Grades 3-4 would move to this site and a multi-purpose room would be added to the facility.
A breakdown of the costs is available here or on the Neligh-Oakdale School website.
Higgins said these figures are just estimates from Sampson Construction, the district's construction manager. Exact costs will not be known until the projects are put out for bids if the bond passes.
Higgins said community input was also a consideration in the bond proposal. He said the board began meeting with the community in 2012 and valued the community's input. During several community-based meetings held earlier this year, Higgins said a major of the community members were in favor of a new track facility and new, energy-efficient windows. He said these areas were cut from the bond because it was getting too costly.
The board chose to go with a 15-year repayment plan, as recommended by board member Kenny Reinke. Other considerations were a 10 or 20-year plan.
"Personally, to me, that 15-year gives you a little more wiggle room," Reinke said. "You can figure crop budgets."
If approved by voters, property owners would pay approximately $115 more annually per $100,000 valuation over the next 15 years.
The board is planning to host a public forum on Monday, September 8 to answer questions about the bond and facility challenges.
At the special meeting, the Board also voted 5-1 to approve a letter of response to the State Fire Marshal to correct issues at the West Ward facility. Ames cast the dissenting vote.
Click here to read the response to the fire marshal.
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