Putting together a growth plan for revenues from the $210,000,000 bond issue that they are proposing for this spring, the Bossier Parish School Board has determined so far that two new buildings will need to be constructed.
First, a new Haughton Middle School, which will cost $36,000,000 and house 1,500 students.
Earlier talk had been about moving it from the present location. I don’t know if that is still the plan or not. $2,500,000 will have to be spent to fix the drainage system at the current middle school. I don’t know what plans the board has for that building.
The Board had been looking at moving Rusheon Middle School to Bossier High School and combining the two, and using the Rusheon facility for a new Vo-Tech school.
Board president Tammy Smith said that it doesn’t make sense to renovate Rusheon for that purpose, and that it makes more sense to build a new building. She didn’t say why.
The board is going to come back and look at consolidating Rusheon Middle and Bossier High School. That isn’t off the table as is the plan to use Rusheon to house vo-tech. The question then becomes what would the Rusheon facility be used for?
I’m not arguing the facts, because I don’t have them. It may be more costly to renovate Rusheon than to build a new building.
Now that the Board has someone to handle public relations (which is a good thing, because they have done a terrible job of it in the past), perhaps we can get some facts and figures to explain this decision.
Again, I’m not disagreeing with it, but people want to know what led to the decision.
I think a vo-tech facility is a great idea.
Here’s another idea. Use the $7,000,000 that the board is planning to use to rent space at CIC toward the new building, and house the STEM program there. That would not mean that the facilities at CIC couldn’t be used at all, but perhaps something could be worked out that would cost less than $700,000 per year.
The cost for the new vo-tech building and for renovations at Bossier High School carries a price tag of $25,000,000. Will additional costs be involved if the board does decide to move Rusheon to that campus?
Of course, this is just a part of the first phase of the plan. The Board still has plenty of decisions to make.
To recap, the questions I have are:
- Does the $36,000,000 for a new Haughton Middle School include acquiring a new location for the school? What will the current building be used for?
- Has the board done a study to back up their decision that it would be more cost-effective to spend $25,000,000 for a new vo-tech facility rather than to renovate Rusheon and to locate the facility there?
- What alternative plans have they considered to leasing space at CIC for the STEM program at a cost of $700,000 per year.
Marty Carlson had a column in the Press-Tribune entitled Counting the Costs, that deals with the financial aspects of the bond proposal, and some renewals that will be coming in the next couple of years. Take the time to read it.