June 18--The Millcreek Township School District has spent $18.7 million of what was a $29.2 million bond issue.
The balance of the bond, originally issued in 2010-11 to help fund a $100 million high school consolidation plan that never happened, currently stands at about $10.5 million, according to a district report.
Since 2010-11, the Millcreek Township School Board has spent down the bond on a host of capital projects large and small, mainly at McDowell Senior High School.
The School Board approved a $26.7 million bond in October 2010; the final deposit at closing, including a premium payment of $2.8 million and minus costs and fees, was $29,207,209.
In 2011-12, the district spent nearly $1.2 million on multiple projects, including roofing, carpeting and asphalt repairs. The district also replaced the roof deck, walkway ramp and chiller and pool filter at McDowell Intermediate High School as well as the hot water tank at Grandview Elementary and the boiler at Chestnut Hill Elementary, among other projects.
In 2012-13 and 2013-14, the district spent $3.1 million and $3.7 million on capital projects. Projects in 2012-13 included drainage work at McDowell, emergency repairs to Asbury Elementary School, window replacement and other work at Ridgefield Elementary, and multiple roof, asphalt and playground resurfacing projects.
The following year included several big-ticket projects, including a $725,900 roof replacement at Chestnut Hill, $588,000 for concrete and drainage repairs at Gus Anderson Field, $408,500 for various asphalt repairs and concrete work, and $313,670 for the replacement of the rooftop air conditioning unit at Grandview.
The district will spend about $10.4 million on capital projects in 2014-15, the largest bond expenditure in a single year, according to the report.
The single largest project will be window replacements at McDowell Senior High, at a cost of $1.8 million, followed by casework and furniture for science rooms at the senior and intermediate high school ($868,682), plumbing renovations for the science rooms ($798,000), and turf replacement at Gus Anderson Field ($533,000).
The bond was to have been the first of three to fund the consolidation of McDowell Senior and Intermediate high schools. The controversial project divided township residents and eventually was shelved because of financial concerns. But the need for much of the renovation and replacement work remained, School Board President Judy Wheaton said.
"Thank goodness we have the money to do this," Wheaton said.
"In my personal opinion, McDowell will constantly need continual updating and refurbishing in order to meet the needs of students as we move forward," she said. "We're not addressing everything. We're trying to make it nice, attractive and safe, and address the science labs."
The report is not an official accounting of bond expenditures but a summary of the projects funded through the bond, Millcreek schools Superintendent William Hall said. An official accounting will be done, he said.
Hall and Wheaton said the district and board will prioritize how the remaining $10.5 million is spent.
"I feel pretty good about where we are," Hall said. "We prioritized based on need, based on safety, based on security and curricular upgrades.
"It's exciting to see the improvements being made that we've talked about since I got here in 2009."
ERICA ERWIN can be reached at 870-1846 or by e-mail. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNerwin.
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