YUKON — The Yukon School Board this week approved a $92.4 million bond proposal that calls for the construction of a new high school, officials said. The proposal, which will go before voters in March, also calls for a reorganization of the district's schools. The plan, passed by a 3-0 vote, was announced at a school board meeting Monday night. The two-part bond proposal calls for $89 million to go toward construction projects and improvements and $3.4 million to buy new buses. Superintendent Bill Denton called the proposition a "bold move.” In October, the district purchased 70 acres near Mustang Road and NW 10, which is next to 40 acres the district already owns. With 110 acres at one location, district officials said they began to rethink how they could address the district's future needs.
What is the plan?If the bond funds are approved by voters, district officials want to build a new high school that could accommodate 2,500 students. In addition, bond funds would go toward construction of new football, soccer and baseball fields and other athletic facilities. All of the buildings would be on the 110 acres near Mustang Road and NW 10. Having a new high school would help the district address its growth issues, officials said. For the past five years, the district has grown between 3 and 4 percent each year, Denton said. The reorganization plan, which Denton unveiled during the bond proposal presentation, calls for the district's elementary schools to house the pre-kindergarten through third-grade students. Independence and Lakeview middle schools would turn into upper-elementary schools and house the fourth- and fifth-graders. The current high school would then house the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. The new configuration would free up enough space at all of the school sites for the district to keep up with growth for at least 10 years, Denton said. Taxes will not increase if the measure is approved, Denton said. What makes this bond proposal different from others is the time it will take to pay off. Instead of paying off the note in three to five years, district officials said they plan on paying off the bonds over a 10-year period.
The timelineIf voters approve the measure, district officials said they plan on acting quickly. The plan calls for one year of planning and two years constructing the new complex. When questioned by a board meeting audience member about the construction timeline, Denton said it would be quite possible for this year's ninth-graders to spend their senior year in the new high school. Part of the reason district officials hope to get construction done quickly is to keep costs low, they said. Steve Smith, a consultant who helped the district plan the proposal, said inflation causes construction costs to rise about 1 percent each month. Jim Fenrick, the district's business manager, said constructing a new complex will not be cheap, but it will help the district for decades to come. "This is a bold move but it's the right move,” Fenrick said.