Board weighs loan for repairs

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock School Board is considering financing $10 million in order to make repairs to its campus buildings.

Officials said the 40-year-old elementary, middle and high schools require significant improvements in order to prevent more costly repairs in future years. A recent facilities study determined that the school requires upgrades to its roofs on the elementary and middle schools, a replacement to the small waste treatment plant that services the school district, upgrades or replacements to boilers, water heaters and rooftop air conditioner units and more, said business manager Adam Kinder.

Administrators and teachers also hope to install upgrades to the special education classrooms, said superintendent Vicki McGuire. Upgrades to seating in the auditorium, renovations to locker rooms, new playground equipment, concrete updates and parking lot lights also made the renovations list. Kinder said the $6 million could also be used for technology upgrades in future years.

“We have major projects on a 40-year-old building we need to get another 40 years out of,” school board member Scott Petry said Monday.

The discussion comes on the heels of the district borrowing $500,000 in December, which has been set aside for replacing the waste treatment plant. District officials recently toured waste treatment plants in the region to see their options.

The district currently holds $9.5 million in total debt, including loans and lease payments, according to state finance reports.

At Monday’s meeting, board members discussed the options for length of the loan terms and interest rates with the district’s bond counsel, Curt Pletcher of H.J. Umbaugh and Associates, an accounting firm based in Mishawaka.

Depending whether the board chooses a 10- or 15-year term for the loans, interest rates could range from .9 to 2.75 percent, Pletcher said. A 15-year term for the loans would incur more interest, but the lower payments would offer more flexibility for the district to be able to borrow more money for capital improvements around 2021 if other needs came up, he said.

Board member Mike Lewis expressed concern over the possibility of taxes being raised by the loans, but Pletcher said the $10 million would not cause a tax increase because the district plans to use some of that money to pay off $4 million in loans taken out in 2007 five years early.

By paying off the $4 million loan early, the district saves about $200,000 — enough to cover the new loan payments, Kinder said.

“We are structuring our debt so that we don’t increase our yearly obligation to taxpayers,” he said.

Eastern Hancock School Board will conduct a public hearing to discuss borrowing $10 million to make repairs to buildings in the district.

The meeting is expected to be in August or September. A date has not yet been set.

Coming up

Eastern Hancock School Board will hold a public hearing to discuss borrowing $10 million to make repairs to buildings in the district.

The meeting is expected to be held in August or September. A date has not yet been set.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.