Jackson schools put $27 million bond issue on ballot

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Jackson voters will be asked in November to approve a bond issue to pay for $27 million in renovations and additions at Jackson High School.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Jackson School Board approved a resolution calling for the bond issue, which would increase the schools' total tax levy from $3.31 to $3.98 per $100 assessed valuation. The bonds would be paid off over a 20-year span.

With the 67-cent levy increase, the owner of a $100,000 home would see an annual property tax increase of $120 if the bond issue is passed.

The board also reviewed a blueprint for the new facility, which would include between 150,000 to 160,000 square feet of new space and around 35,000 square feet of renovated space almost all housed beneath one roof, as opposed to the multiple buildings that currently make up the campus.

"When you plan a facility like this, the key is to make sure the infrastructure, like the lunchroom and hallways, are planned for the future. You only have one opportunity on those kinds of things," said Dr. Ron Anderson, Jackson superintendent. "This seems to be falling together. The majority of it is under the same roof, and it's more convenient."

The building is designed to house between 1,200 and 1,500 students. The plans include new aspects such as a food court-type cafeteria and an events facility that will hold a gymnasium and music program, a commons area, and a large group instruction area with a small stage. Some current facilities, such as the math and science building, would remain in use. Counselors' offices will be integrated with administrative offices. There would be a three-story classroom area adjacent to a new library.

The district's alternative school would be moved to the Primary Annex, which currently houses kindergartners. Those students would be divided up among vacant classrooms at Orchard and West Lane elementary schools.

A joint community/aquatic center and library are not currently included in the plans, though Anderson said the possibility it still there for future consideration.

The high school has struggled with overcrowding from enrollment and program growth for several years, and planning for a new campus has been ongoing for two years. Officials said the decision to renovate and add on to the existing campus was less costly than building a completely new building at another site.

"We're so far behind, we're not asking for anything that we don't really need," said board member Cathy Goodman.

With voter approval in November, officials said, construction could begin during the 2005-2006 school year. A simple majority vote is all that is needed for the issue to pass. Between now and November, the district will offer public tours of the high school to highlight some of the facility and program needs there.


335-6611, extension 128

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