After a history of not passing school related bonds and initiatives, Belgrade voters are changing their tune. Better education of the public by the School Board was a great catalyst for this to happen. Read more below.
Belgrade backs high school – Levy, building bond pass by wide margin
by Sam Weber, Belgrade News staff writer May 5, 2016
Belgrade School District’s request for a $25 million high school construction bond passed in Tuesday’s election with a 60 percent approval rate, according to the Gallatin County Election Office’s unofficial
Belgrade School District’s request for a $25 million high school construction bond passed in Tuesday’s election with a 60 percent approval rate, according to the Gallatin County Election Office’s unofficial results.
Voters also said yes to a $101,374.34 general fund mill levy for Belgrade’s high school district, with 2,640 votes for the levy and 1,878 against. Approvals were a trend all across the whole county — not one school funding ballot initiative failed.
After months of hard work on the bond campaign, Belgrade High School Principal Paul Lamb said he was “on cloud nine” Wednesday. He said the success of Belgrade’s initiatives, as well as the rest of the triumphant levies around the county didn’t surprise him.
“I think the whole Gallatin Valley has seen the increased population and all the houses that are being built,” Lamb said. “People understand our needs, everyone has growing pains. People are listening.”
Now that voters have approved the high school expansion, Lamb said it’s time to dig into the meat of the project.
“We’ll meet with the architect and start actually putting in every single wall, every storage closet, restrooms and all that” on the blueprints, he said. “We need to have conversations with all the different teaching departments to find out what they need in their new classrooms. The rubber is really meeting the road now in finalizing what everything is going to look like.”
The next 60 days are a mandatory waiting period that allows people to contest the election results before the district begins the bond selling process. School officials will lock in design plans during that time so they can go out to bid as soon as the 60 days are up, Lamb said.
Belgrade Schools District Clerk Jay Bates said he met with D.A. Davidson officials Wednesday morning to discuss the upcoming bond schedule. Though it’s hard to say precisely when the district will receive the money, Bates said September is a good guess. Construction would start immediately after that.
The district is in good financial standing, Bates said, so it’s likely to get a good interest rate on the bond. Lower interest rates mean fewer taxpayer dollars over the 20-year life of the bond.
Construction will begin in the unfinished basement wing of the high school, Lamb said. Once those ten classrooms are finished, hopefully next spring, classes will vacate the old wing between the special events center and the courtyard and move to the new basement rooms.
Lamb said he hopes to get demolition on that old wing started before the end of the school year, so a big chunk of work can be pushed through during the summer months. The entire project is slated for completion in the fall of 2019.
Source: Belgrade backs high school