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School board estimates loan costs for property owners

The Thayer Central School Board wants district patrons to weigh in on proposed facility renovations in order to solidify plans before the November election.

Thursday night, Aug. 2, the board held a second informational meeting in their quest to put the bond issue on the ballot. In fact, the proposed plan will require two requests.

The initial plan was introduced to the public in June and after receiving comments, the board returned Thursday with some modifications. The first issue, including the lion’s share of the project – new gymnasium, more classrooms, elimination of the middle parking lot and primary school – is estimated to cost between $9.5 million and $11.2 million.

The second issue – new auditorium – is estimated to cost approximately $4.8 million. Together the costs are anywhere from an estimated $13.8 million to $16.3 million.

At the current levy of 22.6 cents per $100, anyone owning property valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $226 to $268 a year for 20 years should both issues pass. The same property owner would pay $156 to $185 per year should only bond issue no. 1  (new gymnasium) pass. Bond issue no. 2 is contingent on the passage of issue no. 1.

Superintendent Drew Harris noted several improvements have been made to the campus buildings, but that the buildings were showing signs of wear and tear; especially the primary building downtown. “This building needs attention,” he said Thursday night where the meeting was held. “The fire marshal does not like the exits for the gym, they are not handicap accessible, and there are no sprinklers.” He also said some of the windows are broken and taped, the restroom ceilings are bad and there are water issues in the building. “We have been doing some improvements, but we don’t want to put a whole lot of money into this facility until we know its future.”

If it comes to that, he said, the gym would have to be brought up to fire codes, windows would need to be replaced as would the annex building. The restrooms would also need to be renovated and security issues would need to be addressed. Harris said since there is no administration present at the school, one of the offices may have to be moved to the 60-year-old facility.

“I understand $16 million is a big number to wrap your head around,” said board president Tom Tipton to the crowd Thursday night. “It’s a big number, I get that, but we’re going to spend large amounts on renovating what we have.”

He added that the district already spent $2 to $3 million on air conditioning and roofs emphasizing the cost of “fixer-up” construction. “We just can’t help wondering if in the long run, fixing the things that are broken won’t cost as much as starting from scratch,” he said.

All board members are available for comment as well as administrative staff at Thayer Central where the proposal is available for review.

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