Officials mull bonds to cover $175M in Tahoe/Truckee campus upgrades
April 28, 2014
If you go
What: Public information meetings on TTUSD’s Facilities Master Plan
When: 6 p.m. May 1, and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 14
Where: Tahoe Lake Elementary School (May 1) and district office at 11603 Donner Pass Road in Truckee (May 14)
TAHOE/TRUCKEE — The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District — with help from public input — has identified top campus upgrades officials say are needed to improve the learning environment for students.
Earlier this month, the TTUSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a final facilities master plan, which identifies $175.4 million in priority projects. Broken down, Truckee schools have $113.74 million in needed upgrades, while lake-side schools need $61.71 million.
Truckee High School needs the most, according to the district, with a $54.8 million price tag to cover upgrading classroom roofs for snow load, upgrading building systems, removing portables and adding classrooms, and adding fencing, among others.
"In a building as old as Truckee High — and some of our other schools — we are constantly working on plumbing, heating and electrical systems that have reached the end of their useful lives," John Britto, director of facilities for TTUSD, said in a statement. "We have electric panels we can't get parts for, heating systems that struggle to maintain comfort, and sewer and water lines that have begun to corrode. All of these things have direct impacts on the classroom."
Other sites with a lot of need are Truckee Elementary ($26.29 million), Tahoe Lake Elementary ($23.09 million) and Kings Beach Elementary ($19.07 million).
The $175.4 million figure includes an additional 20 percent in contingency costs, according to the district.
District-wide priorities identified in the master plan include improving safety and security at all sites; constructing new classrooms, updating existing building systems and toilets, and updating technology infrastructure, among others.
"The board was extremely vested in making sure that we came up with a prioritization … that was realistic for funding," said TTUSD Superintendent Rob Leri.
On April 9, the school board also directed staff to develop a funding plan, including consideration of general obligation bonds — one for Truckee and one for the lake — for the November general election.
Details such as potential size of bonds, cost per $100,000 assessed value and interest rates will be determined in the months ahead.
"Our goal is that we have the most effective, efficient and affordable bond proposal for our community," Leri said.
For bonds to be placed on the November ballot, the board would have to take action by its June 18 meeting in order to meet the July 2 declaration deadline.
If pursued, bond measures would need 55 percent voter support to pass.
Other options include state funding, grants and current and future capital facility funds, which would result in a funding shortfall, according to the district.
TTUSD's facility master plan was first approved in 2003 and revised in 2007. Up to $224,000 is in the district's facility budget to update the plan, a process that began last summer.
"Our district has been in need of a comprehensive facilities master plan for too long," TTUSD board member Kirsten Livak said in a statement. "I am thrilled with all of the work that has been done to get this process going in order to provide safe and quality learning environments for our students."
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