Royal School Board to vote on construction bond proposal

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ROYAL CITY — Royal School District patrons may be asked to accept or reject a $16.58 million construction bond proposal in a special election Feb. 12. The bond resolution will be considered by the Royal School Board at its meeting Monday.

If approved, property owners would pay an estimated $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The bond would have an 18-year payback provision. The owner of property worth $200,000 would pay about $20.84 per year. The owner of property worth $300,000 would pay about $31.26 per year. If the bond is approved, the district is eligible for about $8.15 million in state-supplied construction funds.

Because it’s a revenue measure but not a maintenance and operations levy, the bond would require at least 60 percent approval to pass. District superintendent Roger Trail said the main motivation was improving safety and security, especially at Royal High School and Royal Middle School. “We’ve got some buildings that need attention, and safety is (the) No. 1 (concern),” Trail said.

The money would be used for improvements at the high school and middle school, as well as improvements at the district’s bus garage. The focus of the project would be Royal Middle School, which would get “total reconstruction and modernization” similar to the project at Red Rock Elementary School, according to information on the district’s website. The project includes additional classrooms at the middle school and enhanced safety measures, with the main office being reconfigured and an entry that would require visitors to be buzzed in for admission.

More classrooms would be added at Royal High School, and the main building would be connected with the library, gym and cafeteria. The cafeteria would be expanded. The RHS gym would get a complete renovation, with a new floor and bleachers, expanded and upgraded locker rooms and an updated heating-cooling system. The entry would be reconfigured to increase security, and both the middle and high schools would get interior and exterior security cameras. Both buildings also would get new doors with card-operated locks.

The bus garage would be expanded from one bay to two, its office area would be remodeled and storage would be added.

The district has an existing bond, approved in 2013, which paid for the construction of Royal Intermediate School and expansion at RHS. The assessment for that project is 94 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. If the bond proposal is approved, the combined bond tax rate would be $2.19 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Red Rock Elementary was badly damaged when a pipe broke and flooded the entire building. The district was eligible for money to rebuild Red Rock, and that, with the insurance payment, allowed the district to renovate the elementary school without asking district patrons for a construction bond, Trail said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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