News Column

T.F. School District Plans $73.8 Million Bond Issue

January 30, 2014

By Ed Glazar, The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho

Jan. 30 -- TWIN FALLS -- In the early days, Twin Falls was called the Miracle Town because it had a school before it had a saloon, historical documents say. A century has passed since the Bickel school opened in rural south-central Idaho . Twelve more schools have been built in the Twin Falls School District since. But they're running out of room for students. So the district is seeking $73.8 million to build, expand and improve its schools, Superintendent Wiley Dobbs told the Times-News Wednesday. The district is Idaho's eighth-largest and its fastest growing, Dobbs said. As jobs and capital investment have flowed into the Magic Valley , district enrollment has increased annually by 1.5 percent to 4 percent over the past decade. By the year 2020, 3,000 more students will overcrowd schools already at or nearing capacity. If the bond passes, the district will build a pair of elementary schools with a capacity of 650 students each at a cost of $15.4 million per school. One school would be built in the east, and one in the northwest by the fall of 2016. "Each of our elementary schools are either at or over capacity now," Dobbs said. "And it's estimated that one of the two elementary schools included in the bond will be at capacity when we open." A 1,000-student middle school would be built in the south part of town at a cost of $30.8 million . It should suffice for 10 years, Dobbs said. A $3.4 million addition to Canyon Ridge High School , completed by the fall of 2016, would expand capacity by 480 students. "With the addition to CRHS, we'll be set up to 2025, if our predictions are correct with high school capacity," Dobbs said. Twin Falls High School would see $7.5 million in renovations to its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, fire protection system, roof and windows. Dobbs said some of the repairs have to do with efficiency as well as repair. Safety and security measures would be a major initiative at all schools. Dobbs stressed the district's goal of "keep up" rather than "catch up." "Catch up" would be putting down inefficient modular buildings, at a cost of more than $300,000 for four classrooms, he said. The bond, which would be paid back over 25 years, would cost homeowners 66 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. Dobbs said people are responding more positively to the bond than they did in 2006, which makes him optimistic. So the district has yet to consider a plan B. "We've just had all hands on deck for plan A," he said. ___ (c)2014 The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) Visit The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Times-News (Twin Falls, ID)

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