Board eyes new school in Victor
August 15, 2012
A bond election is likely for next year
The Teton County School District reviewed an appraisal of the Victor Elementary School at Monday night’s regular school board meeting as part of their ongoing efforts to assess current facility needs and consider a bond initiative that could build a new school and renovate other school buildings in the district.
In recent months, with the help of Plan One Architect’s Garrett Chadwick, the board has identified a need to build a new Victor Elementary School and has debated the merits of upgrading and renovating Driggs Elementary School, the Rendezvous Upper Elementary School and possibly Tetonia Elementary School. A work meeting was set for Tuesday, Sept 4 to dig in deeper into details and flesh out potential timelines for a ballot vote for a school bond.
“It’s been a long time since a bond failed in the county, but we need to weigh our options,” said Doug Petersen, school board chair, at the meeting Monday.
The Victor Elementary School appraisal found that the current building on Center St. in downtown Victor is worth more without the building on the property. The land was appraised at $230,000. The appraisal also found that if the building was to be removed for property sale only, the district could be looking at $150,000 to $160,000 for that demolition barring that no asbestos was found. An asbestos assessment has not been done.
Last year Victor Elementary School did not pass its facility review by the state largely in part because the size of the facility was not accommodating student needs as educators were using the main hallway for classroom and resource teaching needs.
Although a value of the bond has not yet been determined, the district is tentatively eyeing a $10 million bond that would have to be approved by voters with a super majority of 66.7 percent. School board members asked for a more detailed analysis of the price breakdown for remodeling needs and new school construction and are also looking to refinance its current bonds that would also help offset costs.
Timing is of great concern for the school board who will also seek another supplemental levy next year from voters who have passed the voter initiative the last three years. Chadwick said his firm could have preliminary plans and formal cost estimates to the board in time to put the bond on the ballot March 2013. The board will also have three other vote dates to consider including May, Aug and Nov of 2013. The filing date to put the bond on the ballot for this November’s General Election as already past.
The board will likely decide in March 2013 to place another supplemental levy on the ballot for May 2013. A two-year, $2.6 million levy has passed the required 50 percent majority vote for the last three elections.
The school board also said on Monday that they will be talking with City of Victor officials as they move ahead with plans, specifically to determine possible properties where the new school could be built.
Victor Mayor Zach Smith said on Monday that although there have been no formal conversations with the school district regarding a new elementary school or its current facility, he and the council will do what they can to assist with planning. In years past, the city had offered the idea of building a new elementary school in Pioneer Park said Victor city finance manager Craig Sherman, but school leadership at that time needed more space than what the city could offer. Sherman added that with new plans and new buildings in Pioneer Park, the idea of negotiating a building in that area is unlikely.
The last time the school district passed a school bond was to build the current middle school and expand Teton High School. That bond passed voter approval in 2006 for $12.25 million. The last time a bond failed to pass voters was in 1995 when the district tried to pass a $7.9 million bond to build a new high school. The bond failed to pass voter approval for six elections before it eventually passed for $7 million in May 1996. That bond built the current high school.
The Sept. 4 meeting will be held at the district office on Main Street in Driggs and will begin at 6 p.m.