This may be a good time to provide information on where Clearwater, Ewing and Orchard Public Schools are on the school bond election process. I will try to outline what the timeline looks like leading up to the vote on passing a bond measure to build a new school.
Right now, we are in the information discovery and planning phase.
A team made up of legal counsel, architect, municipal advisor and construction manager are being put together.
So far, board members from the three schools have chosen legal counsel, a municipal advisor and an architect.
Potential site locations are being considered with the directive that the site selected will be a central location near the Summerland Road area.
One of the next steps will be to hire a construction manager.
Legal counsel advises board and administration on taking appropriate legal action for land purchases, construction delivery, financing and bonding of projects, as well as contracting construction specialists. They also have been part of putting together the language necessary for the potential new reorganized school district.
The municipal advisor provides guidance and assistance for the information campaign.
They help organize financial data and coordinate with the board, administration and committee members on presenting information to the public in each district.
First National Capital Markets was selected to provide this service.
The architect works with the visioning committee, which is made up of community members, school faculty, board members and administration to come up with the building design.
The design method that has been chosen is construction manager at risk.
The construction manager works with the architect to put a cost to the design that is agreed to. In this design method, a guaranteed maximum price is then negotiated for the building.
If the bond passes, then the CM is the builder during the construction phase.
The three schools are currently accepting proposals from CM firms and will be selecting several to interview the second week of July, with hiring occurring at the next joint board meeting.
The first of three meetings of the visioning committee will be held June 19 in Clearwater. This committee’s input will be essential to the final school building design. There will be a second visioning committee meeting in July and the final one will be held in August. The joint boards will approve a concept design with a corresponding budget in August.
If there are any community members interested in being a part of the visioning process, you are encouraged to contact your district administration.
The information campaign, where results of the design process, financial information and any other prebond work will be shared, is scheduled to begin in September.
This will be after all the decisions on the design, location and finances are complete.
The bond information committee, working with the municipal advisor, will help get this information to the public.
Social media, brochures, mailings and public meetings all may be part of this process. There will be a town hall meeting held in each community to present and explain information and to respond to any questions that there might be.
If there are any community members interested in being a part of the information campaign, you are also encouraged to contact your district administration.
The actual bond election will occur November 12, if everything proceeds according to schedule. This very likely will be a mail in ballot sent out to all registered voters who have a residence in one of the three districts.
Ballots are typically sent out 10-15 days ahead of the due date. Ballots would need to be received in the county offices by 5 p.m. on November 12.
The measure would have to pass in all three districts separately in order for the districts to consolidate and build a new school facility.
The goal is to gather information useful in helping to make a sound decision on this issue.
More information will be forthcoming as we get further along in the process.