Shenandoah High School Expansion and Remodeling Project

This drawing provided by the Shenandoah School District details the high school's proposed expansion and remodeling project. Areas shaded red included the proposed CTE and gym/fitness center expansion. Pink-shaded areas included repurposed areas for STEM-related curricula. Gray-shaded areas cover proposed infrastructure improvements.

(Shenandoah) -- Voters in the Shenandoah School District are expected to decide this fall on a major bond issue referendum.

Planning for a $14.7 million bond issue for an expansion and renovation at Shenandoah High School is in its final stages. Shenandoah's School Board reviewed a concept drawing and cost figures for the project at its regular meeting late Monday afternoon. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Tuesday morning, Shenandoah School Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson says the district is expected to place a referendum on the November general election ballot--after several years of planning and discussion.

"I think we've spent the greater part of the summer reviewing work that's been done for three years," said Nelson, "and had good discussion. We're at a point now where we're ready to move forward to proceed towards having a bond issue in November."

Nelson says the bond issue would entail construction of a Career Technical Education, or CTE addition, as well as a new gym and fitness center facility. Also included is the "repurposing" of classes inside the high school covering STEM-related programming. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

"We've talked about a more academic need for STEM," she said, "and considered how we can repurpose space in the building for those areas. And, there's been significant discussion about people's desire and need for more gym space in our community. We need that for our students, for practice, and the ability to have competitions and tournaments."

In order to keep costs down, Nelson says funding from the district's Secure an Advanced Vision for Education--or SAVE revenues would cover planned infrastructure improvements at the high school.

"We've been very conscious of what that would do for the levy," said Nelson, "and worked with a construction manager agent alongside of our architect on the front end, to make sure we're being cost efficient as we possibly can, and that we're looking at how do we meet the need, and keep the cost as low as possible, and be responsible."

While saying the bond issue would impact the district's current property tax levy rate of $14.60 per thousand dollars valuation, Nelson says the district would reposition other levies to soften the blow.

"We had additional discussion about how we can reduce other levies that we have--specifically our management fund," she said. "By reducing that--because that fund is now in a pretty healthy place--if we reduce that by 95 cents, we would be adding a dollar-75 to the levy, instead.

"I believe the board has done a good faith effort with the planning, the discussion, taking years to develop a plan--not just a few months, and then very intentional to develop that levy need," Nelson added.

Board members have until September 20th to officially set a bond issue vote for November. Nelson expects that action to be taken at its next regular meeting September 9th. You can hear the full interview with Dr. Kerri Nelson on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com. In addition, Also, a financial fact sheet on the bond issue is provided here: