School bond and levy to be voted on in November

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again is an adage that the Orcas Island School Board has taken to heart.

During a special meeting on Wednesday, June 14, the board voted to request a revised bond and a track levy on the November ballot.

“They (the board) wanted to make sure we listened to the community,” said Orcas Island School District Superintendent Eric Webb. “We really want to honor that and listen to that.”

In a special election in February, a school bond for $8 million just barely failed to get the 60 percent majority of votes needed to pass. Many critics of the bond were disinterested in the creation of a track and unhappy that the school was willing to put needed fixes on the back burner.

In response to these concerns, the school board has designated the bond to fund necessary repairs and improvements and a separate levy for the creation of a track and field.

“We’re not going to have to ask for a phase four or five later,” said Webb. “I really think separating that off was a good decision on [the school board’s] part.”

The bond that will be on the November ballot is for $10.8 million. It would cost $0.29 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The bond includes the following:

• Replacing the high school’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and indoor air handling unit (AHU) with electric heat and duct coils and unit ventilators for a total of $1,416,204.

• Installing new plumbing, sanitary sewer and fire sprinklers. Upgrading the fire suppression system including fire pump, domestic water booster pump, sanitary waste and venting, domestic water piping and finishes replacement for a total of $1,149,388.

• Introducing six handicap door openers campus-wide, $100,000.

• Constructing a new 2,300 music/multipurpose room, $1,353,637.

• Elementary school interior finishing upgrades, including paint and flooring, $500,000.

• Waterproofing the exterior of the elementary school, replacing selective flashing and sealing windows, $15,000.

• The old gym will get a face-lift by having selective siding replaced. It will be painted, low slope roofs will be done and new downspouts installed. Additionally, the bathroom/locker room will be reconfigured and remodeled, new bleachers installed and the floor will be repaired or replaced, totaling $1,428,108. The old gym will also have seismic upgrades, energy/HVAC improvements, new fire sprinklers, electric and finishings. A new scoreboard, acoustical enhancements and an operable partition on the stage, $1,844,795.

• The interior of the high school will get new paint, flooring finishes, wainscoting, a new exterior vestibule, replacement of the outdated wire glass and restroom improvements, $500,000.

• The school building on Waldron will have interior finishes upgraded, including an operable partition, paint and roof repair, $47,600.

• School Road will be replaced, $178,715 and the high school parking lot will be resurfaced, $1,761,680.

• An additional $308,873 will remain as a contingency.

The track and field will be on the November ballot as a levy for $1.36 million. This amount, which is augmented by a donation from a private citizen for $1 million, will cover the cost of designing, permitting, testing, preparation of the site, water detention and drainage, bleacher relocation, a grass infield, field improvements for all sports, water and electrical enhancements and upgrades to accessibility. The cost would be $0.11 of assessed value.

“I’m very excited with the way this came out,” said Webb. “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s something people can get behind.”