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School moves forward with construction plans

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School administrators and board members are rallying around construction plans now that voters narrowly approved a $49 million bond.

“There was a lot of work go into the bond passing at every level,” School Board President Ronald Blunck said.  “It was the first one to pass on the first time in Morgan.  It is a new experience.”

Site work could begin at Morgan High School in January and the middle school in Mountain Green in February.  “We want the (construction) process to be transparent,” Superintendent Doug Jacobs said.  All construction bids will be available online and flow through Hogan, the project’s general contractor.

“This past year, we spent a lot of time and effort to go out to bid.  But our campaign hasn’t ended,” Jacobs said.  “Some people are surprised it is happening as fast as it is happening.  It is going to be an investment.  It is exciting to be able to move forward like this.”

Already, the district has spent $700,000 on architectural and engineering services to prepare specific plans prior to bond voting.

“Our No. 1 goal in the next 18 months is to make sure we deliver on what we propose,” Blunck said.  “That is on our shoulders at this point.”

Bruce Williams with Zions Public Finance said the school board will have to deal with a $23 million reduction in the taxable value of the district due to centrally assessed pipeline property tax judgement.  The school district will have to pay back $386,000 due to the tax judgement.  Williams said the first bond payment could be delayed until February of 2019.  Williams suggested a small 2018 tax increase to phase in until 2020, a “ramp up instead of full implementation.”  However, Williams is wary about the fed’s recent intent to raise interest rates.

John Cox, with Hogan Construction, said he has seen mechanical and electrical prices increase lately, resulting in “significantly higher prices per square foot than last season.”

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