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BC News

Nov. 30, 2012

Board to proceed with facilities bond, hears presentation from architect

$26M in improvements identified, board still to determine what will be in bond

The Bethlehem Board of Education has decided to move forward with a facilities bond after hearing a presentation from district architect Ashley McGraw at its Wednesday, Nov. 28 meeting.

Items identified in the 5 Year Facilities Plan

District officials and District Architect Ashley McGraw have identified some $26 million worth of improvements that could be made to the district's facilities. The Board of Education has committed to a bond, but has yet to determine what it will contain.

The contents of a proposal have yet to be decided, but all board members agreed that some degree of facilities improvement is needed to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff.

“I commend the public, who has given us valuable input so far, and my fellow board members for taking this crucial step,” said Board President Diane Giacone-Stever. “But our hardest work is just beginning: deciding what, exactly, to place before voters.”

The next meeting of the Board of education is on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the BCHS library. Click here to view the agenda [PDF]

Ashley McGraw identified $26 million
in possible improvements that could be made to the district’s 21 buildings and 260 acres of land. Click here to view
the presentation [PDF]

The board will now undertake the process of vetting what projects will be included in a facilities bond referendum, what may be included in the district’s operating budget and what may be eligible for an energy conservation plan. Click here to view the latest cost and priority chart [PDF].

Also among the board’s tasks is to decide how and when to place the referendum before voters.  A March vote was discussed at the Nov. 28 meeting, but no date has been confirmed and the vote cannot be held any earlier than 45 days after the board has approved a project. As for how the referendum will appear to voters, the board can put up a single proposition or split certain components of the proposal for separate approval.

“I first want to thank the community members who have been part of the process so far,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas J. Douglas, “and I want to ensure to our community that we have and are listening and that this open and transparent process doesn’t end until everyone has had the opportunity to express themselves. Ultimately, this is the community’s decision."

The district has hosted three community forums and continues to discuss the facilities bond at its school board meetings. Click here to view meeting videos, read frequently asked questions and view other information on the facilities bond referendum and its process.

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