Sunday, June 26, 2022

Lakeview voters OK bond for school improvements

LAKEVIEW — Voters in the Lakeview Community Schools district rallied Tuesday to approve a $33.6 million bond to pay for school improvements.

The results are that “yes” votes outnumbered “no” votes by 892 (58.84%) to 624 (41.16%).

Voter turnout was 18.50%, with 1,518 ballots cast out of of 8,205 registered voters.

School Board President Ed Jonaitis attended an election watch party Tuesday night. He told the Daily News he wanted to thank the Lakeview community “for recognizing our needs and supporting the schools as I felt they would.”

“I’d like to thank all the people that worked hard on this vote and made it successful for the community,” he said. “There’s too many to thank individually.”

Likewise, Superintendent Kelly Nielsen expressed her gratitude for the “yes” vote.

“We’re just very appreciative to our community that supported these efforts, and we look forward to carrying out the bond scope,” Nielsen said. “We’re so happy that the community has supported us.”

Voters were asked to approve borrowing up to $33.6 million and issuing general obligation unlimited tax bonds, to complete a variety of improvements to schools and facilities, including security, instructional technology and related equipment for school buildings, purchasing school buses, and developing and improving athletic fields and facilities, driveways and parking areas, and more.

By approving the bond, taxpayers agreed to maintain the current levy they pay now. The millage decrease for the current debt offsets the millage needed for the new bond, so the millage impact to taxpayers is a zero mill net increase from the current debt levy.

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds this year is 3.85 mills, which is $3.85 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation, for a zero mill net increase over the prior year’s levy, according to the school district’s website.

Last year, a Facilities Steering Committee met with representatives from Kingscott Architects and Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., a construction management firm, to review a needs assessment and to determine priority items for the district.

Last October, the steering committee held community input forums to gather input before presenting a proposal to the school board. The school board voted last November to put the matter on the ballot.


Lakeview Community Schools upgrades

Basic building and site needs, such as:

• Significant improvements to the HVAC system will improve air quality, keeping students warm in the winter and cool in the summer with added A/C. The bond would replace 20-plus-year-old boilers, air handlers, classroom ventilators and more.

• Replacing 25-35-year-old roof sections, protecting building interiors from potential water damage.

• Replacing flooring, ceiling lay-in tiles, doors and hardware, new LED lighting, select restroom remodels, new lockers and technology infrastructure.

Learning environments, such as:

• New furniture for classrooms at all buildings, including desks, casework, tack and marker boards, etc. This also includes funds to update classroom A/V and other teaching equipment.

• A new student commons: The old office area will be remodeled into a new student commons, integrated with the testing center and early college area.

• Larger classrooms: Three undersized classrooms will be merged to create two larger rooms, creating more flexible learning space

Athletics sites, such as:

• Infield improvements (baseball and softball)

• Resurface track with latex surfacing, crack reconstruction

• Pavement reconstruction for long jump lane

• Stadium lighting upgrades

• New PA system for football and soccer fields

• Pavement and sidewalk improvements

• Soccer field dugout and press box improvements

• New roof for football stadium team building

• New natural turf, re-establish crown, new irrigation

Safety and security, such as:

• Revamping the parking area and parent loop to safely accommodate traffic.

• General upgrades at all buildings to fire and security systems, including new emergency lighting, PA systems, and clock/bell systems.

• Remodel the existing high school media center into a new main office, creating a secure vestibule connected to the office. During the day, the inside doors of the vestibule are locked, directing all visitor traffic into the main office.

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