The Long Range Facility Planning Committee unanimously recommended that the Cherry Creek School District Board of Education call for a bond issue for renovation, new technology, and security; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) focused facilities; and building additions, across the district at the board’s regular meeting March 12, 2012.
The $125 million bond issue would be used, in part, to fund expansions at Cherokee Trail and Grandview high schools where enrollment already exceeds capacity. Thirty-seven million dollars also would be used for renovations and upgrades to security cameras, electrical, fire protection, HVAC and plumbing at all schools.
“These maintenance projects are just like the ones people do to keep up their homes,” Assistant Superintendent of Educational Support Services Scott Siegfried said. “They will help ensure that schools remain safe places for students to learn.”
The LRFPC is a citizens advisory group, established by the Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education more than 30 years ago. It is made up of district residents and employees who advise the board on facility utilization including construction, renovation, boundary and calendar issues. The committee is responsible for making sure new schools are built just when they’re needed to handle student growth, and ensuring that existing schools are maintained and improved to protect the taxpayer's investment.
Five high schools – Cherry Creek, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview and Smoky Hill – will receive funds for classroom and equipment renovations for STEM programming. Overland High School received funds for a STEM focused addition from the 2008 bond issue.
“At least 90% of all jobs in the future will require technical education,” Siegfried said. “We need 21st Century classrooms to support 21st Century learning.”
The committee recommended the expansions at the highs schools rather than building a new high school, which would have cost $125 million, the same amount as all of the other bond projects combined.
The district recently refinanced some of its existing bond debt for a savings to taxpayers of $4 million. Cherry Creek has an extremely strong credit, as evidenced by the Aa1/AA ratings assigned by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, respectively.
The bond issue would not result in a property tax increase, Chief Financial Officer Guy Bellville said.
The Board of Education will consider the recommendation and decide whether to call for a November election at its April 16, 2012 meeting.