Poland school board confirms plan to raze old buildings if bond issue passes
Voters head to polls Tuesday to consider levy for new facility
By Jordyn Grzelewski
The school board has confirmed that it intends to demolish old school buildings should voters next week approve a proposed bond issue, funds from which would be used to build a new K-8th grade school.
“Should the bond Issue pass on Nov. 3, one of the persistent questions has to do with the fate of the current buildings. Although market forces could change and unanticipated alternatives could emerge, it is the present intention of the board of education to raze the five vacated buildings, but to do so in a way that meaningfully preserves items and artifacts of historical significance,” the board said in a statement Tuesday.
“We are confident that there are appropriate ways to meet objectives while properly honoring our history,” the release said. “By razing these buildings, preserving our heritage, and maintaining ownership of the property, the board believes that significant savings will result to our operating budget.”
The proposal that Poland voters will see on the ballot Nov. 3 asks for authorization for the school district to issue bonds – to be repaid over a maximum of 34 years – in the amount of $28,265,910, levy a 4-mill property tax over that bond period to pay debt charges and levy an additional 0.5-mill property tax for permanent improvements.
Some funds from the bond issue would be earmarked for abatement and demolition of vacated facilities.
School district officials have cited two primary factors in their decision to pursue a new school building: Major infrastructure failures at school buildings, and that a state commission will pay 19 percent of the estimated $35 million cost of the planned facility that, as the plan currently stands, would be built at the current site of Dobbins Elementary.
If the school district gets the funds to build a new facility, its options for the vacated buildings, two of which are historic, would be to sell, demolish or keep them; the board previously indicated that sale or maintenance of them were unlikely.
Much of the discussion about the bond issue has centered around the fate of the old buildings.
Board members agree that should the old buildings be demolished, the connector between the middle school and McKinley Elementary should remain in place. One idea is to use it as a community center of sorts.
The board also has indicated that it would preserve certain historic elements of some of the buildings, some of which could be incorporated into a new building.