Following assessment of our explosive growth issues, input from the District Growth Task Force, feedback from a Growth and Bond Survey, and much discussion, we, the Morgan County School District Board of Education, have unanimously voted to seek patron approval for a $49 million bond. Understanding there is a need for additional space in every school in the district, we feel the proposed bond will meet current and future facility needs as our district continues growing in student population. The two proposed projects create additional space in each of our buildings and minimize district busing needs. They are as follows:
1. A new addition at Morgan High School will add space for 300 additional students. A third story will be built but left with unfinished space, for an additional 300 students as needed in the future. After completion of the new addition, the oldest classrooms will be demolished, leaving an area for future expansion of the auditorium.
2. A new middle school in Mountain Green will have capacity for 600 students. The building is also designed to readily incorporate an additional 16 classrooms as needed for future growth. Both middle schools will operate with sections of the building for grades 5-6 and grades 7-8 with a shared cafeteria, media center and gymnasium. Since the middle schools will house students in grades 5, it also creates space in both elementary schools.
Providing the public a clear picture of the proposed projects and costs has been a Board goal. We hired NJRA Architects to develop plans and Hogan Construction to keep us apprised of building costs (which unfortunately continue to rise). Both firms were hired by the Board with recommendations coming from selection committees made up of parents, teachers, community members, school board members and district administrators. Both new schools were designed with input from two design committees of the previously mentioned make-up. We believe the buildings are a good fit for our community. Design is nice, yet conservative. We are also committed to ongoing improvements at each school in the district.
As required by law, the ballot will contain a paragraph entitled Property Tax Cost of The Bonds. Please understand when you read this paragraph that the figures given reflect the cost of the bond if no other factors were in place and we were simply financing $49 million for a 21-year period. Given that there are outstanding bonds that will reduce over time along with adjusted capital outlay levies, a $158.28 increase in the current overall annual property taxes on a residence with a $300,000 value, and a $287.78 increase for a business property having the same value, look to be the more reliable estimate.
Though these projects require a measure of sacrifice from the community, we believe it is a responsible approach and certainly more cost effective than waiting. We unitedly feel the bond addresses important building needs and that the new projects will be of great benefit to students and the community for years to come. We invite all residents to participate in the bond election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Additional information is available on the Morgan School District Website at www.morgans.org.
Morgan County School District Board of Education