School Facilities Task Force prioritizes $12.9 million project list for I-SS
BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education members were presented information earlier this week regarding $12.9 million in county bond reserve funds that will be made available this school year for capital school projects.
The county oversees the school district’s money and the unused money from bond projects can be carried forward from year to year.
These funds give the school system the ability to begin future construction projects and major renovations. Funds cannot be used to hire teachers or other personnel.
“Long story short, the county is holding $12,965,080 in bond reserve funds. Those funds are not designated for any bond projects that are on the books,” Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Planning Kenny Miller said.
“What the county has said,” he explained, “is we would like to reduce the potential for future bonds by identifying projects from our facilities task force that we can frontload.”
Miller presented the recommendations, which he said was generated by the facilities task force — a 19-member group whose goal is to assess the needs of the schools and begin prioritizing a project list.
The task force consists of county commissioners, school board members and citizens representing all areas of the county, “offering a broad knowledge base.”
The projects on the list (with cost estimates) include:
► Lakeshore Elementary School — a six-classroom expansion ($2.5 million).
► Statesville High School — a new Career Technical Education multi-purpose building ($4 million).
► West High School — school renovations and an addition of CTE shops ($1.7 million).
► Additional Funding for the current new middle schools ($1 million).
► Contingency funds set aside for other or future projects ($3.7 million).
The district has other projects on the horizon as well, Miller said. Local capital money could be combined with state funding and other funding sources for those projects, he added.
These projects include:
► Statesville Middle — major renovations for the IB move in 2021-2022 ($7.5 million).
► Harmony Elementary School — renovations ($1.2 million) and replacement of fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms ($7.3 million).
► West Middle School — renovation to HVAC ($1.1 million) and teardown and reconfigure and build ($18 million).
Miller told the school board that he would recommend moving the West Iredell Middle tear down and rebuild to Phase I of the next bonds, if the district is able to do some of those listed from bond reserve funds.
He also recommended moving the Harmony teardown/rebuild to Phase I of the next bond if it is chosen over the renovations option.
Chairman Martin Page said that it was a great surprise to learn that the county had this money set aside.
“These projects were already on the books. This will allow us to move forward with our plan and get ahead of the curve and hopefully reduce the next bond packet,” Page said.
The last school bond approved by voters was in 2014.
During the meeting, Page mentioned that he’s tired of “throwing good money on junk.”
“Sometimes you have to spend money to save money,” he explained.
I-SS can do this is by putting in more efficient LED light and updating heating/air conditioning at the schools.
In a lot of cases, he said, it’s cheaper to tear down buildings to make more efficient buildings.
The school board will vote on approving the $12.9 million project list during its Monday, July 15, meeting at 6 p.m. Once this is done, Miller will present the recommendation to Iredell commissioners for their approval.
The new meeting location is at Career Academy and Technical School, located at 350 Old Murdock Road in Troutman. The meeting will take place inside of the new multi-purpose meeting room space. Signage will be posted to direct the public who may want to attend.