News Column

Murtaugh School Ag Center Construction to Begin Soon

May 27, 2014

By Julie Wootton, The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho



May 27--MURTAUGH -- With money in hand from a bond sale, the Murtaugh School District will soon start constructing a new vocational agriculture center.

But the larger project -- building a new elementary school -- won't start for months.

Voters approved a $5.4 million ballot measure in March for the facility projects. The school district closed on selling bonds Thursday, meaning they have the money to start construction. A competitive bond sale May 8 drew five bids, said Cameron Arial of Zions Bank Public Finance, who serves as the district's financial adviser. The winning bid was submitted by Robert W. Baird & Co. Due to lower interest rates than expected, the district will save more than $550,000.

Originally, school officials said the bond wouldn't increase tax rates since Murtaugh Middle/High School will be paid off. Now, Murtaugh property owners will actually pay less in taxes due to interest rates coming in lower than expected, Superintendent Michele Capps said.

"We were very thrilled with that," he said.

The interest rate is set at 3.4 percent and bonds will be repaid over 30 years.

"The Murtaugh School District and others around the Gem State are benefiting from a relatively low interest rate environment to finance new projects," Arial wrote in a statement.

Construction will begin immediately on a 7,200-square-foot vocational agriculture center, which will also double as the school district's maintenance building.

Starr Corp. is the contractor for the approximately $500,000 project, Capps said. The building will be done by the time school starts in September or shortly thereafter.

Then, the old agriculture and maintenance building will be torn down to pave the way for building a new elementary school.

A 29,500-square-foot school will connect to the high school. Plans include two extra classrooms for growth and a multipurpose room.

It's slated for completion during the 2015-16 school year, Capps said.

The current elementary school -- built in two phases in the 1930s and '60s -- will be kept for after-school programs.

The Murtaugh School District has about 230 students, including 130 in elementary school.

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(c)2014 The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho)

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Source: Times-News (Twin Falls, ID)


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