School Board seeks bond referendum

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:04 am

MILFORD – The Caroline County School Board wants the Board of Supervisors to set a bond referendum for $25 million to finance projects at Caroline High School and Madison Elementary School.

The School Board voted 6-0 at its regular meeting Monday to request the supervisors to set a bond referendum. If approved by the supervisors, it may be held in conjunction with the November election.

The majority of the $25 million bond issue would finance a major projection to renovate and expand the high school. School officials, in consultation with the school division’s architectural firm, have roughly estimated that project to cost $21 million.

The project for Madison Elementary School, for roughly $4 million, would consist mainly of additions and alterations.

Superintendent Greg Killough told the School Board the high school project would cost about $25 million if the work was done “piece meal.” By doing all the work in one project, the school division would save about 20 percent of the cost, he said.

The high school project would include an addition across the front of the school for 12 more classrooms, a new library, school offices, and entrance. The expansion part of the project also would include a second gymnasium.

The high school also needs extensive renovations and improvements, noted George Gagnon, the school division’s director of construction and maintenance, who briefed the School Board on both proposed projects.

Those improvements and upgrades include bathrooms and lockers, HVAC systems, electrical and lighting, science labs, roofs, the track, and the stadium bleachers.

Some aspects of the project now will cost more because they have been deferred, noted Killough. When school officials originally looked several years ago at repairing the track, it would have cost about $80,000. Since then it has deteriorated more, according to Killough, and now it will cost about $300,000.

The project at Madison Elementary School would add four classrooms in order to eliminate trailers at the school and also include a new gym, entrance, and bathrooms. The school’s existing multi-purpose room would be converted to a new, larger library. The school also is in need of more paved parking.

The School Board voted on the bond referendum resolution without discussion, questions, or debate.

Chairman Nancy Carson said later the idea for the bond referendum grew out of discussions that she and vice chairman George Spaulding have had in recent months with two members of the Board of Supervisors, Wayne Acors and Floyd Thomas. The four have been holding informal budget-related discussions, at times joined by Killough and County Administrator Charles Culley.

Those talks have indicated the supervisors may not support borrowing money for the high school project, said Carson.

The two panels have been assembling a task force of citizens to guide the process of finalizing plans for the high school project.

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