Ballard 2018 Bond Referendum Frequently Asked Questions
What is the amount of the referendum?
What are the construction projects?
The largest project is a comprehensive renovation of the middle school, estimated at $18 million. Included in the renovation are additions to the cafeteria and main office. At West and East Elementary Schools, safety and security would be improved at the main entrances. The stadium is the final project in the referendum. Under consideration are replacement of concessions/restrooms, the entry, and home bleachers and press box.
What is the impact on my tax rate?
Passage of the referendum will not increase the tax rate. The rate is the lowest it has been in 15 years because of effective budget management from the Ballard Board. The Board has been
planning for this referendum since completion of the Facility Master Plan in 2015.
What is the Facility Master Plan and why is this important?
The Master Plan was developed in 2015 with input from a committee made up of community members, staff, and the Board of Education. A comprehensive analysis of the facilities in the
district occurred and a long-range plan of priorities were identified. A Master Plan is important because it provides a roadmap for the Board and enables the Board to make strategic decisions
well in advance of a project. Since that time, the District has addressed those priorities utilizing capital projects funds. The elementary schools have received most of the attention the past two years, with parking lots, painting, flooring, branding, and playgrounds.
Why does the Board believe the middle school renovation/addition is a priority?
The middle school is a structurally sound building and a great asset to the District. The majority of the building was constructed in 1961 and 1975. It was designed as a Jr. High/High School and became a middle school when the high school opened in 2011. Unfortunately, the existing building is not well suited for middle school education. As children transition from elementary school, where they are educated in homerooms, to middle school, it is ideal to organize students in small learning communities – typically grade levels. This concept supports engagement, collaboration, and well-being, which are developmentally important factors in adolescence. The current design does not allow for this structure.
The renovation would also include important safety upgrades. The main entry would be redesigned to meet current standards. Security cameras would be installed throughout the interior and exterior of the building. Electronic door systems would enable sections of the building to be secured from the central office location. Classrooms would be equipped with interior locks to improve safety when students need to secure in place. Safety and security is a priority of this project. The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems have reached the end of their useful life and are in need of replacement. Many features of these systems are inefficient and dated. Conditioning of the building regarding temperature and ventilation is inconsistent and inefficient. These systems are both costly and not conducive to a healthy learning environment.
Finally, the building’s appearance is dated. West, East, and the High School are facilities that elicit pride in the community. They reflect the value we place on education. The Middle School was at one time a similar source of pride. However, its time has passed and the middle school is in need of attention. Our middle school students deserve a facility the rest of the District’s students enjoy, not to mention that of middle school students in neighboring districts.
Does the Middle School plan account for future growth?
Yes, the design would accommodate an additional 150 students. That is significant growth capacity for years to come.
What needs have been identified at the stadium?
The overall appearance is dated and the facilities are lacking. Seating capacity is insufficient, the pressbox is old and in need of structural improvements, and there is no technology infrastructure.
Concessions, restrooms, ticket booth, bleachers, pressbox, plaza area, and exterior fence are all in need of improvement. The Board has earmarked $1.5 million to address the greatest of these
needs. Efforts will be made in future years to continue stadium improvements.
Why do the main entries of the elementary schools need to be redesigned?
At the time of construction in 1993, security was not as high a priority as it is now. It is now recognized as best practice to require visitors to be granted access to a building during school
hours via electronic doors and pass through the office prior to gaining access to the building. The electronic security system is in place, but the entrance needs to be redesigned to route visitors
through the office.
When will construction occur?
The first phase is the middle school renovation. It would take place from April 2019 – August 2020. The elementary school entries would be renovated in the summer of 2020. The stadium
improvements would occur in the summer of 2021 as the third phase of the referendum.