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Pateros School District seeks bond

— The Pateros School District is asking voters to approve a $7.25 million bond in the Nov. 5 election that would help the district make building and safety improvements.

An informational meeting will be from 6-7 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 17, at the Pateros fire station, 191 Industrial Way.

The bond would extend over 20 years at an estimated cost, depending on the interest rate, of about $2.08 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“The bond will specifically go into improving the building itself – addressing electrical needs, floor coverings, security needs, campus traffic patterns, being able to finish up all the things we need to do on the maintenance and transportation building,” Superintendent Lois Davies said.

The goal, she said, was to develop the “tightest, most effective, clear plan to be able to take care of the health and the safety and building needs and then to move us forward educationally.”

The school also plans to replace boilers installed in 1981 and single-pane windows left over from the 1960s; add two classrooms; improve the football field and add new bleachers; add a multi-purpose room to serve as a second gymnasium, a performing arts center, a place for elementary school children to have recess during bad weather and more; and modernize the educational equipment, ventilation and electrical in the metals building.

“Not every single student that graduates from Pateros goes onto university,” Davies said. “A lot of them choose the trades.”

Programs such as welding, which are offered in partnership with Wenatchee Valley College, have become popular among students who may move on to apprenticeships or trade school after graduation, Davies said.

The new multi-purpose room will be a building addition, extending from the front of the commons toward the current music building across the street.

The school also plans to add more parking spaces and address traffic safety by creating a “closed campus” with one-way traffic so students can more safely walk between buildings, she said. Currently, Beach Street curves in front of the building and parallel parking spaces on one side narrow the road further.

A tax calculator is available on the district’s website. Residents wondering if they’re exempt from paying the extra tax may be able to find some answers at tomorrow’s meeting, Davies said.

If approved, design work will be through fall of 2014. The school district will open bids for a contractor in winter 2015, with construction to begin in spring 2015. All the work is slated for completion by fall 2016.

Davies called the bond “an opportunity to invest in the heart of the community.”

“’They’re the right projects for the right reasons at the right time,’” she said, quoting the Yes for Pateros bond committee that operates separately from the school. “Our public education really does keep Pateros vibrant. We have awesome students here, great families and we’re excited to keep it healthy.”

Planning the bond and its associated projects has taken four years, including a year and a half of “Continuing the Conversation” meetings with the community. Davies said an average of 30 residents attended each time to give their input to the school board, project management firm Hill International, Inc., and facilitator Gene Sharratt.

“I think they worked hard, and the board really listened,” Davies said. “It’s been cool to see the community ownership in this project.”

The district will also place a replacement levy for maintenance and operations on the February special election ballot. The levy, if approved, will be for the same amount as the current levy and will last for two years. It pays primarily for curriculum, programs, athletics and general maintenance needs that aren’t related to what the school is planning with the bond.

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