Community members and district representatives gathered at the Maroa-Forsyth Middle School on October 23 to discuss facility planning.
The goal of meeting #2 in the district’s community engagement process was to further explore the needs at the middle school, understand the finances for a building project, and further review the preferred solutions identified by the community in meeting #1.
Nearly 50 citizens were in attendance, and building tours were offered 30 minutes before the meeting began.
Future-Focused Learning Environments
After an introduction from the steering committee chairs, an overview of the current building program (summary of spaces) was presented and compared to an optimal middle school building program.
Principal Kahler then illustrated current spaces at MFMS compared to other middle schools.
See presentation for more photos.
Participants were asked to answer two questions, and their individual answers were compiled into word clouds. The more often a word occurred overall, the larger it appears in the graphic.
The outcome of this activity follows:
Kevin Heid (Stifel Financial), the district’s bonding agent, presented an overview of the district’s bonding capacity for a facility project. With a combination of a portion of the proceeds from the county-wide 1% facilities sales tax and building bonds (paid for with revenues from property taxes), the district has the ability to bond up to the following*:
- $26,350,000, with zero tax-rate change (due to bonds from HS being paid off in 2021)
- $35,600,000 (MAX), with property tax increase of $152/year on a $200,000 home
Graphic illustration of bonding capacity estimates. *Financial projections are estimates for planning purposes based on a 25- year bond term at a conservative interest rate projection of 5%
There are still several unknowns, such as funding from the IL Capital Bill and an offer on 10/23/19 from the Village of Forsyth to extend their contribution of the .5% sales tax proceeds to the district if a new MS was located in Forsyth next to the Grade School. The revenue will be available for the Middle School once the Grade School bonds are paid off in 2027, and is to be allocated for such use through the life of the bond (expiring in 2046). The district and their advisers will work diligently to understand this further and present a complete picture to the community at CES #3 on 11/13/19.
The rise in construction costs since Maroa-Forsyth High School was constructed, and the current low interest rates were also discussed.
Sam Johnson (BLDD Architects) presented potential scenarios in more detail. These were narrowed down based on feedback from meeting #1 and included:
- Status Quo (for comparison)
- Construction of new MS on existing site
- Addition to HS to create 6-12 facility
- HS becomes MS, build new HS
- Additions & remodel of existing MS
- Construction of new MS on GS site
The following details were provided for each of these potential scenarios: rough site illustrations, first costs, the cost to operate and maintain over a typical life cycle (30 years), functional adequacy score, pros and cons, and how well it met an optimal middle school program of spaces.
A cost-benefit analysis of all scenarios was performed using QLEO, a proprietary software developed by BLDD Architects, which takes into consideration both life-cycle costs and functional improvements.
Small Group Work
11 small groups worked together to come to consensus regarding the following the questions:
- What is your top scenario?
- What is your second favorite?
- Is there a scenario you can’t support?
The groups also provided thoughts for improvements and concerns regarding their top scenario.
Wednesday, November 13
6:30-8:30pm @ Maroa-Forsyth Middle School
Meeting #3 will focus on a recap of our students needs, more details on financing and the top scenarios, with the goal of selecting a community-supported vision for the future of our District’s Middle School.Community members are encouraged to attend optional building tours from 6-6:30pm.
For questions, please contact Dr. John Ahlemeyer, Superintendent by email or by calling 217-794-3488, Ext. 5103.