BROWNSTOWN — A multi-million dollar project to add a gymnasium and replace the HVAC system at Brownstown Elementary School originally introduced in the summer of 2022 has begun to take shape.
On Monday night, the Brownstown Central Community School Corp. board of school trustees held the first of two public hearings to allow for public comment ahead of possible adoption of a resolution.
That resolution, one of the first steps in the process of obtaining financing for the work, would set the maximum amount the corporation can issue bonds at $16.8 million. The corporation also has roughly $1.3 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds that can be spent on the HVAC part of the project. The present HVAC system was installed in the school when it was built in 1973.
Bond underwriter Damian Maggos with Raymond James & Associates spoke about the financing for the project during Monday’s public hearing.
The second public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the administration office, 608 W. Commerce St., Brownstown. After that hearing, the board is scheduled to consider adoption of the resolution making a preliminary determination to enter into a lease agreement relating to the project and issue bonds to finance it.
Assistant Superintendent Jade Peters later told The Tribune if the board adopts the resolution, the next steps involve finalizing the drawings and pricing for the projects. Bonds for the project, which will be on a 20-year-lease, will be sold in the fall after the assessed valuation for the school district is released, he said.
The assessed value, the total dollar value assigned to all real property, improvements and personal projects subject to taxation in a taxing district, determines the property tax base for each unit of government. This year’s property tax rate is $1.0464 per $100 assessed valuation, and the goal with the project is to keep that rate in place.
Peters said the goal for the gymnasium is for it to be large enough for two courts and seating for the student body and staff, which is roughly 800 people.
He said construction on the gymnasium could start as early as February 2024, and the HVAC project would be accomplished over the summer of that year.
“We have structured this so that we will have some flexibility to possibly do general obligation bonds,” Peters said. “It is our goal to keep the tax rate level while maintaining great facilities for our students at BCCSC.”