STAPLETON — The Stapleton community and school board came together to identify the greatest needs for Stapleton Public Schools, and the result is a bond issue proposal for an addition and remodeling at the school.
The bond issue would be for $2.9 million, but Marcia Hora, a member of the Stapleton School Improvement Committee, and Superintendent Howard Gaffney said no new taxes will be needed to service the proposed bond.
“Our community has been very receptive to what we would like to see take place,” Gaffney said. “The important thing with what we’re trying to do here is that there will be no new taxes to take care of this.”
The bond issue would be for 15 years, he said.
“We have some money in the building and grounds budget area that will ensure we can take care of that bond issue for years to come,” Gaffney said, “without having to tax more for the payment of that bond.
The special building fund fund levy is now 9 cents per $100 of valuation and would go to 3 cents without the new bond. If the bond issue passes, Gaffney said, there won’t be any tax increase but the tax rate will continue at its current 9 cents.
“If this bond issue should pass, once we get everything finalized, there’s a chance we might not even need to solicit $2.9 million because of what we do have sitting in (the building and grounds budget) to help out with,” Gaffney said.
The movement toward the project began in earnest last year, Hora said.
“We looked at the school and the board wanted to narrow it down to what they felt was really needed,” Hora said, “and to do it fiscally responsibly.”
A brochure identifies what the project would address: safety/security, non-code-compliant restrooms, substandard locker rooms, a non-private student health and services area, a congested commons area and aging parts of the building that are no longer adequate.
Gaffney said security to monitor who enters the building is inadequate.
“The camera system doesn’t take a very wide view and there may be more than one person wanting to check in,” Gaffney said. “In visiting with other superintendents, that’s a real safety issue.”
Another issue is the music room, which lacks adequate storage, Hora said. A new music room would be part of the addition on the east side of the building and would offer adequate storage space for music equipment, she said.
The current office space and music room would be opened up to create a larger commons area, and the concession stand would occupy part of that area as well.
“Then there are the locker rooms,” Hora said. “The junior high locker rooms are in the 1914 building in the basement. They’ve done a good job of trying to fix them up, but they are just inadequate.”
Gaffney said he thought that was one of the prime selling points for the project.
“Sometimes you just can’t fix ugly,” Gaffney said. “We can put a little paint on it, but it still isn’t what you want the schools that are coming to visit to play here to dress in, especially in this day and age.”
He brought the building and grounds committee into the building to experience the locker rooms.
“That’s probably what really moved this thing in the right direction,” Gaffney said. “I brought them in and made them sit in that building and those rooms for 15-20 minutes just looking around and noticing all the defects, the scars of years and years of service, the lockers that I have now removed and taken out of there that were put in there originally back in 1914.”
Many on the committee did not realize how rough the locker rooms had become, he said.
Should the bond issue pass, Gaffney said, the construction would likely break ground in March.
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