Bayfield School District closed on its sale of $28.7 million worth of bonds on Dec. 15, and proceeds have been deposited in Bayfield's two banks, District Finance Director Amy Lyons told the Times this week.
"We wanted to get it done before the Federal Reserve increased interest rates," she said, and before a lot of other school bonds came on the market.
The bonds are payable over 25 years and have an average interest rate of 3.75 percent, Lyons said.
District officials have had two full-day meetings since the Nov. 8 election with the general contractor, the architect, engineers, and the district's owners representative, Marty Zwisler, Lyons said.
"We hope to get started on the new school (just south of the mid school, for grades 3-5) this spring and the elementary school once school gets out."
That summer work will be the parent drop-off moved to the east side of BES and the drop-off area at BMS, she said.
"Troy (Superintendent Troy Zabel) and I are meeting with Marty every week," she said, adding that Zabel is there pretty much full time, she said. The real push will be the renovation at BES in summer 2018.
Renovation of the BES administrative offices will happen in summer 2017 and continue into the 2017-18 school year, Lyons said.
"There will probably be a modular for administration, and the new administration section ready for January 2018."
The new administrative offices will be an addition just west of the current offices and what is now the school's front entrance. The addition will include a new south-facing entry and increased security features.
The total for both schools and some work at the district administration offices totals $37.2 million. A Colorado Department of Education BEST grant will cover 25 percent of that, bringing the bond issue down to the $28.7 million.
In his report to the school board on Dec. 14, Zwisler said, "Designs are progressing very quickly. We had an all-day work session on Nov. 30 with our architect, engineers and contractor, and have had numerous meetings and other communications with district staff for input on designs as they evolve."
He continued: "Design development drawings are scheduled to be completed in early January. FCI (the general contractor) will then work up estimates that should give us a pretty good indication of what these designs would cost to build.
"We have another workshop scheduled for Jan. 18 to review the estimates, see how they align with our budgets, and brainstorm on the most appropriate ways to make design adjustments where necessary."
Zwisler referred to the summer 2018 schedule as "The summer wonder of 2018." He said, "The biggest challenge with the K-2 school (BES) renovation will be trying to complete the work on the building interior during the summer of 2018."
He said it would help if the 2017-18 classes at BES could end a week early and start a week late for the 2018-19 school year to give two more weeks for the inside work.
Lyons said, "We'll have to get together with the calendar committee and community partners to see how that might work."
The school board approved changes to the architect's contract last week for work that wasn't part of the BEST grant application and must be separated from the grant funding.
The big one is the seventh classroom for each of the three grades at the new school. BEST only allows their funds to be used to address current enrollment, not expected future enrollment, Lyons said.
"So we have to have an addendum to the contract to say we're designing for the seventh classroom out of the scope of BEST." It was figured into the bond budget but not the cost to the BEST grant.
The other will be a playground on the west side of BES for easy access from the cafeteria. "That's not in the BEST grant either because it wasn't in the BEST application," Lyons said. It was an idea that came later.
Lyons said, "We have a busy 18 months ahead of us, but it's very exciting. We'll all have to be very flexible. It's fun looking at playgrounds and actually have the money to do it."
Also on Dec. 14, the board certified district mill levies for property taxes payable in 2017. Lyons said they reflect a 21 percent decrease in the district's assessed valuation.
The district total mill levy was certified at 32.478, including 14.845 for bond repayment, 8.229 for general operations, and 9.199 for previous voter approved mill levy over-rides for operations.