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Nevis School District will ask voters to support a building referendum

Nevis School District voters will be asked two questions on the November referendum ballot.

Nevis School District voters will be heading to the polls in November to determine the fate of a school upgrades and additions referendum.

Voters, the school board determined this week, will be asked two questions:

The first will ask for funding for three proposals. These include an Early Childhood Family Education addition on the east end of the building. Cost is $1 million, offset by a $500,000 grant for the project.

The second of the three proposals is replacing the portables on the west side of the high school with three permanent classrooms and men's and women's restrooms. Cost is $850,000.

The third is building a boys' locker room on the northwest side of the school, the former band room, and a new band room where the existing choir room is located. Cost is an estimated $1 million.

Total cost of option one is $2.85 million, $2.35 million with the grant factored in.

The second question will ask for approval to enlarge the wood shop and add a hallway between the existing art room and wood shop toward the Tiger Arena lobby. Cost is $550,000.

Approval of the second question is contingent on passage of the first.

Total cost of both options, with the grant, is an estimated $2.9 million.

A home with an estimated market value of $200,000 would see an increase in property taxes of $23 annually if the first question earns approval, $28 if both win the nod.

At Monday's hearing on the matter, superintendent Steve Rassier pointed out the ECFE is located in an "old house with two add-ons."

The classrooms, he said, should be connected to the school. Currently, the ECFE does not have access to administrative, secretarial, food service or health services. Kids must be "bundled up and unbundled" when they travel over to the school. An onsite ECFE building would provide an easier transition to kindergarten, he noted.

The district will also see an $8,000 reduction in utility costs and improved air quality.

"We'd be foolish not to match the grant," Rassier said.

The portable high school classrooms were designed for two-year use, Rassier said. "It's now 10. The portables have outlived their life expectancy."

The boys' locker room is not handicap accessible, which has not been an issue to date. "But the need is imminent," he said. A new band room would be constructed just east of the gym, along with a receiving and custodial storage area.

The second option on the ballot, enlarging the wood shop and adding the hallway, would relieve congestion in the high school hallways, Rassier said.

He said public forums are likely to be held prior to the November elections and referendum.