Heidi Bunch -  The 6th Street School sits abandoned and in need of repair. This building, among other Mineral County School District properties, could be fixed under the proposed ballot measure.

Heidi Bunch –
The 6th Street School sits abandoned and in need of repair. This building, among other Mineral County School District properties, could be fixed under the proposed ballot measure.

In an impromptu meeting held at Maggie’s Once More, members of the community met with elected school board officials and school staff to discuss the proposed school bond issue that will be on the November ballot.

The 6th Street School sits abandoned and in need of repair. This building, among other Mineral County School District properties, could be fixed under the proposed ballot measure.

A sample of the ballot bond question reads as such: “Shall Mineral County School District be authorized to issue general obligation school bonds to finance the equipping and improvement of school facilities? District projections at the time the bonds are issued must indicate that issuance of the bonds will not result in an increase of the existing school bond property tax rate of twenty-five cents per $100 assessed value.”

In a brochure that was “printed with public donations only,” it goes on to explain that a roll-over bond is a way to use a portion of taxpayer money for ten years to address important issues that cannot be accomplished without it. The bond does not pay salaries nor does it apply to any personal benefits nor does it raise your taxes but instead, allocates a portion of the tax money toward your schools future.

The Mineral County School District has addressed many improvements and additions to the aging buildings in our county. It is explained that the oldest, being Mineral County High/Jr. High School is over 80 years old and still in full-time use. “It is in desperate need of updates, upgrades and safety renovation.”

The current Mineral County School District administrative office, now named the Arlo K. Funk District Services Center, was built over 55 years ago to serve as a junior high building. It too needs “vital upgrade and renovation repairs. Today, the building houses: the district office staff and administration; adult education classes; continuing education; grant management; use of the gymnasium; conference and class rooms.

Included in the bond measure are two of Mineral County’s newer buildings, the Hawthorne Elementary School and Schurz Elementary School. Both are almost 20-years old and needing standard required upgrades.

The list of repairs for the high school include: replacement of two old boilers or ground source heat at an estimated cost of $550,000; roof replacement at an estimated cost of $85,000; sealant and crack seal on both existing parking lots at a cost of $20,000 per lot; sewer and water lines at a cost of $60,000 and light structures at the football field for $60,000.

The district office would get improvements such as: boiler replacement $450,000; roof replacement at a cost of $400,000; gym roof replacement (foam roof) $100,000, lighting and light poles for outside area estimated at $30,000 and sewer and water lines, same as above.

Schurz Elementary would have their existing lot sealed and crack sealed for $10,280; replacement of heating units in 12 classrooms at a cost of $3,500 each; replacement of cooling units in 12 classrooms at a cost of $3,500 each and replacement of carpet in 10 rooms (4 rooms per year) at a cost of $1,950 per room.

Hawthorne Elementary would also get their three existing parking lots sealed and crack sealed at $20,000 estimated cost per lot; replace heating and cooling units in 22 classrooms at $3,500 per each units, a total estimated cost of $154,000 and like Schurz Elementary, the replacement of carpet. This to be done in 32 rooms at a cost of $1,950 per room, completing four rooms per year at a cost of $62,400.

District wide or miscellaneous other projects include: the roof replacement at the maintenance building; window protection film for windows, doors and buses at an estimated cost of $90,000; ADA sidewalk from high school to cafeteria at Hawthorne Elementary, roughly $60,000; bathroom upgrades at all sites (complete district office and high school first – then elementary schools) at a cost of $256,203; interior carpet/paint (completing four rooms per year ending in approximately 20 years) at a cost of $3,000 per room for 46 rooms and swamp coolers (replacement of five small and one large cooler every year for 15 years) – $121,500.

Additional points regarding capital improvements with the bond issue listed were explained as such: “Over a ten year process these 25 items are estimated at a $3.2 million dollar figure. The most pressing items will be the high school boiler stack; HVAC units needing replacement district wide; the cafeteria walk-in compressors in both 20-year old elementary schools; phone system as well as other items the district is making plans to repair.”

The Mineral County School District grant writer is also seeking funds to possibly help match revenue.

“This will assist in upgrading empty buildings such as the Mina School and the older, abandoned facilities in Hawthorne to receive necessary repairs so they can be rented and bring in lost revenue to the district,” the information stated.

One question brought forth was the demolition of the “old green school” located next the Mineral County School District building. The school district plans to deal with demolition of the building, which previously scheduled to be torn down under past funds. The statement from the school district explains, “This will be handled without tapping into the bond money, because there was money available to handle it and the community would like it dealt with.”

In a plea to “Be True to Your School” voters are urged to contact those on the school board to get more information. Copies of the brochure and information sheet are available at the Independent-News office.