Schools identify specifics for upcoming bond vote

The Minot Public School Board discussed specifics Wednesday for the planned $39.5 million bond referendum on April 8.

The bond issue is a scaled-back version of the $125 million bond issue that voters defeated last Dec. 10.

If it passes, school property taxes would go up about $10 per month for the owner of a $200,000 home in Minot.

If passed, the bond referendum would pay for construction of a 550-student elementary school on land the district already owns in southeast Minot, for classroom additions and renovations at Perkett and Edison elementaries and safety and security upgrades at other schools in the district, which would include relocating school offices to a centralized location, additional security cameras and buzzer systems to enter schools.

Cost estimates are as follows: $350,000 for safety and security remodeling at Bel Air Elementary; $280,000 for safety and security remodeling at Bell Elementary; $325,000 for safety and security remodeling at Dakota Elementary; $3.225 million for a classroom addition at Edison; $25,000 for additional security cameras at Lewis and Clark Elementary; $25,000 for additional security cameras at Longfellow Elementary; $125,000 for safety and security remodeling at McKinley Elementary; $540,000 for safety and security remodeling at North Plains Elementary; $8.84 million for a classroom addition and new gymnasium at Perkett Elementary; $300,000 for safety and security remodeling at Roosevelt Elementary; $225,000 for safety and security remodeling at Sunnyside Elementary; $350,000 for safety and security remodeling at Washington Elementary; $25,000 for additional security cameras at Erik Ramstad Middle School; $350,000 for safety and security remodeling at Jim Hill Middle School; $350,000 for safety and security remodeling at Memorial Middle School; $225,000 for a security camera upgrade at Minot High School-Central Campus; $225,000 for a security camera upgrade at Minot High School-Magic City Campus; $18 million for construction of the new elementary school.

In addition, “soft costs” such as professional fees, contingencies, site survey, testing and permits is estimated at $5.7 million. “Owner costs” including bond costs, furniture, fixtures, equipment, legal fees, builders risk insurance and miscellaneous owner expenses is estimated at $1 million.

The total costs, including construction costs, soft costs and owner costs is estimated at $40.5 million.

The district would pay for the project with a $20 million school construction loan from the state at 1.72 percent interest and by sale of $19.5 million in general obligation bonds. The district will also use a $222,000 state safety and security grant, which requires matching local funds to a total of $444,000 and by taking $592,000 from the district’s reserve fund.

Superintendent Mark Vollmer said the low interest school construction loan is only available through May 15. If the bond issue fails, the district will have to notify the state that it won’t be using the loan. The funding would then be given to another school district in the state that is on a waiting list for those funds.

Vollmer said the additions are needed due to the increased growth in the district. Twenty-one portable classrooms are in use at schools in the district, with the most at Washington Elementary with nine. District-wide enrollment is expected to grow by more than 1,000 students in the next five years.