$33 Million Bond On November Ballot

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The Payson School board unanimously passed a resolution ordering a $33 million bond election be held Nov. 7.

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Rory Huff, advisory board member

The board took the action at its July 10 meeting. Two board members, Don Engler and Vicki Holmes, were absent but Engler participated by telephone.

The bond, if passed by the voters, would not increase property taxes on homeowners but would extend the life of capital improvements bonds that were issued years ago. Those bonds will be paid in full in three years and payments on future bonds, if passed, would begin.

A recommendation to hold the bond election came from an advisory board that has been studying district needs for the past six months.

At the school board meeting, advisory board member Christy Ford detailed some of the district needs and how the bond money would be used.

If the bond passes, a new Julia Randall School will be built to replace the cluster of aging and deteriorating buildings that now exist.

However, a representative from a Valley architecture firm hired by the district emphatically told the audience and board members that the "Rock Building" which was built in 1935, would not be torn down but rather renovated and the original architecture retained.

Also, he said, the construction would occur in phases so as not to disrupt classes at JRE.

Bond money will also be used to build a new office, library and hallway connection buildings at Rim Country Middle School. Parking and student pick-up lots will also be improved.

At Frontier Elementary School, where excessive noise has been a problem since the dome structures went up, will receive sound improvements.

Also, storage buildings at FES would be built and bus and parking lots redesigned to allow better and safer access.

Also in the bond improvement plan, Payson Elementary would receive new carpet, paint and parking lot improvements. At PHS, proposed improvements include one parking lot for all students, artificial turf for athletic fields, security cameras and re-keying locks on all buildings.

Advisory board member Rory Huff campaigned to build a new high school, but the necessary bond money could not be attained within the $33 million request.

"It would have taken more than that," he said. "But a high school is sort of the focal point of a community and we want (one) we can be proud of."

The "Old Main" building at Payson High School is currently undergoing a $1,654,338 face lift that will include a new roof, improved heating and air conditioning, construction of a centrally located reception area, updating three science classrooms and new offices to house administrators, their secretaries and the school resource officer.

Several other older buildings, however, are in need of repair and renovation. Some, including the agriculture building, are no longer used because they are in such poor condition.

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