Proposed Lyndon school project pared to $12.3 million

LYNDON – The USD 421 Board of Education will hold two public meetings to propose spending more than $12.3 million for a facilities improvement project, after paring down $14.1 million of construction proposed at last week’s board meeting.

Thursday night during a special meeting, the board considered a set of plans developed by architect Dave Emig, who since last week had conferred with principals and school superintendent and incorporated their ideas and those of the board’s into the latest concept.

Last week the board considered a $11.2 million building configuration that included three monolithic domes, but reached a consensus to build another dome estimated to add $2.5 million to the project. Cited were the need to add programs, have room for growth, and separate physical education classes from the cafeteria, which had been previously proposed to be in a multipurpose room that would also serve as a gymnasium and auditorium.

Emig’s latest drawings did not add another dome, but did offer an extra 6,000 square feet of space in the form of an extra high school classroom, a lab with greenhouse, a principal’s office near the elementary-middle school classrooms entrance, an enlarged commons area that would serve as a cafeteria, and a kitchen. The concept also would construct a monolithic dome gymnasium that would also serve as an auditorium, a storm shelter, and music classrooms.

Other features of the proposal:

  • Seventh Street north of the high school would be closed permanently.
  • Original elementary school and the third grade to fifth grade wing would be razed to accommodate a new football practice field.
  • Original high school would be razed.
  • New high school classrooms would be built in conventional construction.
  • New elementary and middle school classrooms would be in two domes, one of which would include a library, distance learning lab, and art classroom to be shared by elementary, middle school and high school students.
  • New gymnasium, auditorium, storm shelter would be in a dome construction.
  • New kitchen, cafeteria and commons would be built adjacent to the existing gym.
  • District offices would be moved to the south side of Sixth Street in existing distance learning classroom area.
  • The plan would include 64,709 square feet of new construction for a total of 112,315 square feet.

At last week’s meeting, the board also showed support for constructing new locker rooms and a storm shelter at Jones Park near the football field; if included in the bond project it would add an estimated $400,000.

During Thursday’s special meeting, the board conferred by phone with Dustin Avey, of PiperJaffray, about the property tax impact of the proposed bond issue. The bonding advisory firm previously provided information showing that a $12.5 million, 20-year bond issue would require a 26.25 mill levy increase, or additional property taxes to the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $302 annually. The median home value in Osage County was reported as $99,000. Increased taxes on $100,000 of commercial property is estimated at $656 annually; the annual tax increase on 160 acres of cropland, $264; and the annual tax increase on 160 acres of grassland, $78.

The board set 7 p.m. Jan. 28 as the date of the first public meeting to explain the project; a second meeting will be 7 p.m. Jan. 30. The meetings will be in the school auditorium. Also scheduled was a Feb. 3 special board meeting to consider community input, followed by a plan to formally adopt a bond election resolution at the Feb. 10 regular board meeting.

See related story here.

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