Task force to present $42M plan
If school board approves, plan would go to voters
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:00 AM
Madison's building project task force will present a $42 million school renovation plan to the Madison Consolidated School Board.
This is an architect’s rendering of proposed changes to Madison Consolidated High School. Green represents existing parts of the building to be renovated. Blue is new construction.
The recommendation will include:
Adding classroom space, a new main office area and a renovated media center and cafeteria to Anderson Elementary School.
Moving students from E.O. Muncie Elementary School to Anderson after construction at Anderson is complete.
E.O. Muncie would then close and possibly have its classroom wings demolished, leaving the gymnasium and cafeteria to be converted into an early childhood education facility.
Renovations at Madison Consolidated High School would involve the construction of one new gymnasium, converting the old gymnasium into a performing arts center for music and theater, renovating the school's "A" wing and the addition of classroom wings that would include a technology center. Possible changes also include a centralized media center, new entryways and a renovated main office area.
Members of the task force will present the recommendation at a special school board meeting tentatively planned for Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
MCS Superintendent Dr. Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger said that it's time to take what the task force has found to the next level of discussion.
"Dec. 4 is the first opportunity to lay out there (to the school board) what this group has actually talked about," she said. "It's an opportunity to start the next level of the process that expands that discussion."
Tom Neff, architect for Schmidt & Associates, broke down the expenses for renovations. High school renovations are projected to cost $32.5 million, E.O. Muncie demolition and renovation would cost $2 million and the Anderson renovation would cost $7.5 million.
During a presentation to the task force last month, Colette Irwin-Knott, an associate at Umbaugh, an independent financial adviser that assists government units, said a $45 million bond would raise property taxes by about $65 a year on a $109,800 home - the median property value in Jefferson County.
After hearing the recommendation on Dec. 4, the school board will have until Jan. 8 to decide whether or not to add the $42 million referendum, and subsequent tax increase, to the May ballot.
Jan. 8, Neff said, is the state deadline to host a preliminary determination hearing to add an item to the ballot.
The hope is to have task force members shepherd the referendum through the May election.
"There has to be a core fabric, which is you guys (the task force members,) that takes it to the next step and takes the risk of saying, we think this is an option," Neff said.
Also at the meeting, task force members were presented with a seven-year building plan for Madison Junior High School, Rykers' Ridge Elementary School, Deputy Elementary School and Lydia Middleton Elementary School.
Concern was raised at the previous meeting that those buildings also need improvements, and the task force didn't want to have to come back in the near future, asking for more money to improve those buildings.
Bolinger said that updating E.O. Muncie, Anderson and the high school would free up more money from the school's capital gains project fund, allowing the school board to approve building project improvements to the other buildings.
In the seven-year plan, MCS projects $1.2 million of the district's capital gains budget would be freed up each of the first three years, $1.3 million in the fourth year, $1.2 million in the fifth year, $1.4 million in the sixth year and $1.3 million in the seventh year.
Those projections, Bolinger said, are conservative.