Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Security and technology upgrades will receive the first expenditures from the recently approved $28 million school bond for the Dallas School District.

Superintendent Andy Bellando outlined for the School Board at their June 13 meeting the administration’s plans to sell between $12 million to $15 million over the first three years.

“Based upon what we believe to be the priorities that were promised to the voters, based upon a variety of factors, some of which are still unknown at this time, we are suggesting the priority projects for years one through three be construction of security vestibules at all school sites, from my perspective, the sooner the better, by next summer would be ideal,” Bellando told the board.

The expenditure includes the $4 million Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) grant from the state. Thus, Bellando explained, if the school district was to sell $14 million in bonds, they would have a total of $18 million over that three-year period.

“We are obligated to use 85% of those bonds within the three-year period following date of issue. By Aug. 2025, we’re obligated to use three quarters of those. And obligated to expend 100% of state grant in same time window,” Bellando said.

“Nothing has been finalized yet. These are identified priorities. The middle school and high school upgrades are priorities, but the construction of security vestibules and security and tech upgrades at all sites really is number one. So, every school will be experiencing something right away,” Bellando said.

The board needs to approve the plan by June 27 so the administration can sell the bonds in August, he added.

The initial security and technology upgrades will take place at all school sites, to include keyless entries in addition to configuring new vestibules, security systems, upgraded fire and alarm systems, as well as camera and security technology.

Next, he outlined how the rest of the first batch of dollars will be directed to LaCreole Middle School and Dallas High School.

“We really, really believe the middle school has some priority upgrades that should be completed before the others. Those have largely to do with the concerns we have with plumbing,” Bellando said.

He explained while the contractor was there anyway doing upgrades to plumbing, the administration could also make upgrades to the cafeteria, kitchen and stage, roofing, and partial HVAC upgrades. He said some units have a little life left in them, some don’t. Finally, the project would include construction of a new gymnasium.

“As part of middle school package, based on market conditions, based on what we’re hearing, based on the estimator, based on what we can afford, all of those projects would be considered priorities,” he said.

Also within the first three years will be improvements to DHS to target plumbing and HVAC upgrades and to Holden Auditorium.

Bellando outlined important dates:

– Aug. 9 meeting project manager, RFP published, have a few companies indicated interest.

– Aug. 18 gen. obligation bond sales

– Aug. 25 closing documents upon sales finalized.

– Sept. and Oct. board approval of general contractor

Bellando expects the second sale of bonds would be in 2025, where the administration would be in a position to make the decision what to target next.

In the meantime, the administration is busy forming a Citizen Oversite Committee responsible for keeping track of bond expenditures.

Bellando said he has multiple emails out to folks who have indicated interest in being on committees, including business leaders, real estate agents, representatives from the city of Dallas and the PTC booster club.

“I think it would be great to have student representatives on the COC,” he added. “I think having student voice on committee is powerful. I have a list of another 12-15 folks to get that nice variety and diversity on the committee who would be committed short term and long term as we move ahead with COC.”

He plans to have a full COC roster and written charge for the board members to take action on at their next meeting.

“Things are quickly going to be moving 100 mph very, very soon,” said board president Michael Bollman. “All through the bond discussion, that was always at the forefront – safety and security. I’m grateful that’s at the top of the list. That’s what we’ve promoted.”

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