PADDOCK LAKE — Electors in the Westosha-Central High School District will see a $39.6 million facility referendum on the April 6 general election ballot.
The Board of Education voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve the necessary resolutions to seek authorization to borrow money needed for building needs that were identified through a facility assessment last year.
The vote came after two residents addressed the board during the citizen comments portion of the meeting. One called for the district to hold off given the uncertain economic times and the other objected to the scope of the project.
Resident Tom Reilly said he has generally supported school referendums in the past and does agree with the needs set forth. But, he said, “this is really not the time,” given the financial hardships small businesses and families are facing.
“We don’t need it right now,” Reilly said. “Let’s take a step back — put a pause on it.”
Resident Chris Skrzynecki said he believes the referendum could be pared down. For example, he believes the estimated $1,542,957 to remodel the administrative and student services area is too high.
“It just seem a little excessive in that regard,” Skrzynecki said.
While a survey conducted by the district suggests the referendum as presented will pass, Skrzynecki believes it will take more than one attempt.
“This is going to go down like a lead balloon,” Skrzynecki said.
The $39.6 million will address the following needs:
- Improve school security.
- Replace building infrastructure that has reached the end of its service life.
- Renovate classrooms and create spaces for student collaboration and small-group instruction.
- Expand and modernize educational support areas.
- Convert the current cafeteria into a permanent auditorium.
- Provide additional gymnasium and weight/fitness space for school and community use.
The estimated tax impact of the project was adjusted Tuesday based on an increase in the equalized value of the district.
Initially, the district reported the impact of a successful referendum would be 68 cents per $1,000 of equalized property value, or $136 per year on a $200,000 home. That estimate has been reduced to 59 cents per $1,000, or $118 per year on a $200,000 home. The term of the loan would be 20 years.
Proposed projects with estimated costs over $1 million are:
- Addition of gymnasium and new commons area: $14,520,482.
- Art and classroom additions: $4,478,886.
- Auditorium/stage area: $3,635,965.
- Library/maker space/learning café: $2,678,037.
- Classroom and corridor renovations: $2,531,910.
- Parking lot repairs, Falcon Way asphalt replacement, storm water pond repairs and new maintenance building: $2,128,409.
- Remodeling the administrative and students services area: $1,542,957.
- Kitchen and receiving area remodel: $1,389,021.
- Consumer Education Labs: $1,462,636.
- Proposed projects with estimated costs under $1 million are:
- Fitness/weight room: $959,883.
- Roof replacements: $921,700.
- Band/chorus/music area improvements: $637,335.
- Lockers rooms and P.E. staff area: $556,703.
- Varsity baseball and softball field improvements: $480,981.
- Auxiliary gymnasium: $393,333.
- HVAC improvements: $595,562.
- Electrical system improvements: $305,549.
- Plumbing system improvements: $135,296.
- Tuckpointing and removal of main entry canopy: $38,841.
- Main entry restroom modifications: $11,070.
District Administrator John Gendron said the school district website will include referendum information, and multiple public meetings will be held at the high school, area feeder elementary schools and at village and town halls within the district boundaries.