Quincy School Board may hold special meeting to address facilities proposal

Posted: Jul. 22, 2014 9:58 am Updated: Aug. 5, 2014 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy School Board is likely to convene a special meeting within the next couple of weeks to hear details about a proposed facilities plan and decide whether to put a multimillion-dollar bond issue on the November election ballot.

Joel Murphy, the district's business manager, told the board's Building Committee on Monday that the special session will be scheduled sometime before the board's next regular monthly meeting on Aug. 20.

"There's been quite a bit of work going on," Murphy said.

He said a team of architectural and engineering firms will make a presentation giving a more detailed look at the proposal to build four new elementary schools and an addition onto Quincy High School at a total cost of $85 million to $89 million. The proposal also calls for moving to a K-5, 6-8, 9-12 grade configuration once the construction work is completed.

Murphy said one of the biggest challenges facing the district is trying to find three more potential building sites for the four new elementary schools. Because the schools would all be constructed on a single level -- instead of as multistory structures that would have a smaller footprint -- at least 10 acres would be needed at each site to provide adequate space.

Only the Monroe School setting readily meets the criteria, because plenty of extra land is available at that location.

Murphy said possible building sites will be discussed at the special meeting, and detailed conceptual drawings and floor plans will be displayed.

School Board member Scott Stone, one of the chairmen of the Building Committee, said he has been making a series of public presentations about the facilities proposal in recent weeks. If and when the School Board decides to put a bond issue before voters, board members can no longer speak as freely in support of the proposal.

Stone said one point he makes in his talks is that the district is expected to spend at least $66 million over the next 20 years to make "life-safety" repairs to the district's existing buildings -- a figure based on what the district has spent for life-safety over the past 20 years.

"We've got buildings right now that range in age from 60 years old to 124 years old," Stone said. "If we do nothing, we'll spend close to $70 million and in 20 years have buildings that are 80 to 144 years old.

"So because of that factor -- that we're spending a lot of money regardless, whether the public approves the bond issue or not -- we're hoping that the community will look at this and say, ‘Hey, this makes sense,' and understand that the board can do this and structure the bonds so there is no tax rate increase."

The Building Committee also heard about a proposal by the Quincy Area Vocational-Technical Center to buy a fire-damaged building at 515 S. 17th to use as a rebuilding project for students in the QAVTC's construction classes.

QAVTC Director Mark Pfleiger said students would completely rebuild the main floor from the walls up and put a new roof on the building. The center would then sell the house once the project is completed in two years.

QAVTC students are still renovating a district-owned house on High Street. That project is expected to be completed by the end of December, Pfleiger said. The house will then be sold.