Facilities group learns about bond costs
Construction costs on a potential Jacksboro ISD bond issue are expected to run in the $78-90 million range.
Members of an exploratory facilities needs committee met Monday, Nov. 14 to continue discussing and listening to what a bond would cost, at potentially no increase in the tax rate. Steve Risser with Gallagher Construction Services gave a cost overview of what the community and district see as needs.
Risser said costs are increasing at roughly about 2% a month right now, so time is of the essence. If construction were to start in May, the cost would be an estimated $78,350,452, with projected inflation included. If the district waits until after a decision is made by the voters for just eight months the cost rises to $90,302,216, Risser said.
Of the total, 75% is construction costs, with the rest being professional fees, contingency and other related expenses.
The monies would then be used for, a new 7-8 grade (junior high) campus; indoor activity center, which would allow teams to practice inside; a new career and technology building; a fine arts addition; a renovation at the high school for a band hall and indoor weight rooms; field house expansion to include new locker rooms; elementary renovation to include restrooms; softball and baseball field improvements, which would include artificial turf on booth; and middle school renovations to increase space.
Risser said the costs are only estimates and the construction would be done in phases. The bond issue would have to be split up into parts, namely those items geared toward education and then geared toward athletics and extracurricular items. Risser said the bond could be worded where some things are con- tingent on an additional 313 agreement coming into the district.
“We’re only going to sell what we can afford (at the time),” Risser said. “We will build and sell the bonds as we get the money.”
Risser said if the district wanted to take a proactive approach, it would get started before the potential bond issue was even passed, paying the architects out of the district fund balance. If the issue passes, the district gets its money back.
JISD Superintendent Brad Burnett said the district needs to position itself where an incoming solar farm in the county is paying the bulk of the costs.
“This will be a lot easier to sell with no tax increase,” Burnett said. “We want to stay ahead of the curve while providing the best education for our students. That’s why we have to listen to the community.”
Risser said bond issues are passing at a declining rate of late with athletic proposals failing in the last two cycles. Rural districts as a whole are seeing bond issues fail over the last few years, Risser said.
JISD has a reputation of paying off bonds early which has saved taxpayers more than $12 million over the last 10 years. Right now the district has about $3 million in outstanding debt which will be paid off in 2036.
The recommendation from the committee will be made at the board’s January meeting. To have a bond election in May 2023, the board would have to call an election on or before Feb. 17, 2023.
A discussion on what is needed will take place at the committee’s Monday, Nov. 28 meeting.