2018 Referendum Overview
The school board has decided to return to the ballot box on February 20, 2018 to request permission to borrow $1.5 million to complete renovations to the high school automotive lab and to complete the construction of the proposed athletic facilities, including the multi-purpose events center. We understand you may have questions, so we have created the following guide to hopefully answer some of them.
How did we get here?
At the time the prior referendum was passed in November 2016, there was no formal bid presented to the school board for the construction of the multi-purpose events facility. The $5 million amount listed on the referendum for the updates and construction of campus facilities was an estimate made by the school board. The estimated cost of the facilities improvements to the track, stadium, football, softball and baseball fields came in at around $2.3 million, leaving approximately $2.7 million left in the facilities portion of the budget for the multi-purpose events center. However, this $2.7 million was not estimated upon a final design, and once the board reviewed various different designs and decided upon one that would best fit the district’s needs, the estimate increased to $3.7 million. With the cost of the middle school projects coming in $1.5 million under budget, reallocating this money could allow the district to finish the facilities improvements, as well as and update and expand the high school automotive lab. The school board believes this is the best solution for completing both projects without borrowing additional money.
What are we proposing?
The school board is proposing that the $1.5 million dollars not borrowed for the middle school addition and renovation projects, be reallocated to the multi-purpose events facility, and the expansion of the high school automotive lab. The $1.5 million would be allocated as follows: $1 million for the remaining construction of the multi-purpose events facility, and $500,000 for the expansion of the high school auto lab. The referendum question is not asking for any additional money that was not already approved in a previous referendum.
What about my taxes?
The district planned to borrow the total $25 million required to complete all projects as allowed by the 2016 referendum. The financing schedule currently in place is designed for this amount. Approval or rejection of this referendum question will have little, if any, impact on property taxes other than lowering the final payment in 2037.
Why renovate the auto lab?
The board included budget dollars in our regular maintenance budget for minor upgrades to our high school auto lab. While developing a plan for gradual improvement, the board came to the conclusion that it would be preferable to make more substantial improvements to this facility all at once. As you may or may not know, the automotive lab was once the district bus garage, and then maintenance facility. The high school auto program moved into this facility 15 years ago when the maintenance crew moved to their new facility near the stadium. The automotive program has grown and is now running year around serving kids from West Salem and surrounding school districts.
What happens if we vote yes?
If this referendum passes, the $1.5 million that has not been borrowed for the middle school project will be borrowed and used for the remaining construction of the multi-purpose events facility and expansion of the auto lab. The amount to be borrowed will remain at $25 million, which was approved in 2016. The school board will not borrow any additional funds.
What happens if we vote no?
If this referendum fails to pass, the multi-purpose events center will still be constructed, but not in its entirety. Portions of the building would be unfinished, leaving these areas unusable until additional funds could be raised for their completion.
The below photos show a rendering of the West Salem Events Center provided by Vantage Architects, as well as the proposed floor plans for the Events Center and for the renovated high school automotive lab.
This guide can also be printed here.
For more information, please contact superintendent Troy Gunderson at email@example.com or contact a school board member using the information here.