September 11, 2013 9:32:45 AM
Major renovations to Starkville High School's football and track field should be completed by the start of the next school year if the school system's projected timetable comes to fruition.
Starkville School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway said the district will bid out the projects this winter for the estimated $1 million endeavor. The renovations should be finished by July, in time for the 2014 Yellowjacket football season, he told school board members Tuesday.
The school system is also expected to deal with other major renovations this spring and summer after it approved $10 million in bonds, including $2 million in no-interest loans, last month for various maintenance and repair projects.
Holloway told the board he recently met with financial advisors about how to execute the bond, whether to sell a portion of the notes this year and next, or issue the entire allotment up front. The district is expected to begin selling the bonds this November or December as interest rates remain low, he said.
SHS' football field and track projects were previously ranked as the third most pressing maintenance project this year by SSD stakeholders. Last year, SHS athletic director Stan Miller asked the board to consider extensive field maintenance and re-surfacing the track with an all-weather covering. The field itself has seen numerous issues, from its sprinkler system to grass sprigging. Cracks and other structural problems have plagued the track since its construction.
Actual work on the project is not expected to begin until the new year. Holloway said he will remain in contact with Miller to ensure the district can accommodate any scheduling issues due to the improvements.
The school district is also slated to revisit major roofing projects for three of its campuses this spring. The prioritized projects list ranked three roofing projects - Armstrong Middle School Gymnasium, Overstreet School and the Millsaps Career and Technical Center - as the district's most pressing infrastructure need. The projects were previously estimated to cost a combined $1.5 million.
Holloway said the district could also install new, energy-efficient windows at Sudduth Elementary School for $14,000 in the upcoming year. Air-conditioning projects are also expected to be addressed with the bond monies. A Henderson Middle School air-conditioning project identified with the district's prioritized maintenance list is expected to cost $200,000, while 92 other HVAC units are expected to run the district $184,000 combined.
"We're moving forward with these projects, but there's only so many we can handle at a time," Holloway said.
The school board previously approved a 3-mill levy to cover the improvement bonds. The long-term impact of the increase is negligible due to retiring millage.
Last week, the Starkville Board of Aldermen adopted SSD's tax levy of 62.96 mills for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 operations.
Property taxes are calculated with mills. One mill is worth one-thousandth of a dollar. For example, if the millage rate is 20 mills, a property owner pays $20 for every $1,000 of assessed value on his or her property. The assessed value of a property is the appraised value multiplied by the assessment ratio (10 percent for residential properties). The owner of a property appraised for $100,000 in this example would owe $200 in taxes.
Municipalities, counties and school districts each establish their own millage rates to meet budgetary needs.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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