Leader Blues

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TOP STORY > >District sells bonds for new elementary

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

The recent shaky financial market will not affect the Cabot School District as it moves forward in constructing its ninth elementary school, planned to open in the fall of 2010.

The district has $50 million for planned construction projects, including the new elementary on Hwy. 5, thanks to the sale of bonds in April and the state’s partnership program for public school districts.

According to Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman, the district received approximately $22 million for construction projects by selling bonds in April 2008. “We were able to sell these bonds as a result of patron approval of the 3.9 mill increase in March 2008,” he said.

“The current market has no impact on our bonds since they were sold earlier in the year,” Thurman added.

An additional $28 million will be received from the state through the partnership program.

The $160,000 to purchase Bill and Mildred Ray’s 16 acres, located a half-mile from the intersection of Hwy. 5 and Mountain Springs Road, will come from the district’s building fund, Thurman said.

Construction will begin as soon as the property purchase is completed.

“We will use the same footprint as Magness Creek Elementary and Stagecoach Elementary with modifications to the office area, cafeteria and gym,” Thurman said.

Since the land is not in the Cabot city limits, Thurman said the district had discussed annexing the property into the city limits with Mayor Eddie Joe Williams and said annexing “would certainly be our preference.”

“We have worked with the city to ensure that this site was acceptable for both the city and the district,” Thurman added.

“We will also begin developing a traffic plan for the intersection of Mt. Springs Road and Hwy. 5 since there is currently no turn lane from Hwy. 5,” Thurman said.

The new elementary will help relieve the overcrowding at Magness Creek and Northside Elementary schools and would require a rezoning of the district.

“Zoning would not begin until the semester preceding the opening of the school since enrollment patterns, building capacity and growth trends over the entire district would need to be as current as possible to ensure that all zone changes have a positive impact on all district elementary schools,” Thurman said.