Lone Rock School District seeks extension of bond to pay for new gymnasium

2012-02-23T21:07:00Z 2012-02-24T06:40:54Z Lone Rock School District seeks extension of bond to pay for new gymnasiumBy PERRY BACKUS - Ravalli Republic Ravalli Republic
February 23, 2012 9:07 pm  • 

LONE ROCK – During a series of town meetings last winter, some Lone Rock community members said it would be nice to have a new physical education building at the school.

The current gymnasium was built in 1973 when there were about 125 students at the school.

Today there are closer to 300.

“It’s not adequate anymore,” said Lone Rock School board vice chair Dan Metully. “When anything else needs to happen that requires that space, physical education classes just kind of don’t happen.”

Still, when the suggestion was first raised, Metully remembers thinking the district probably couldn’t afford to build something new. No one was interested in raising anyone’s taxes during these tough times.

And then the board had an idea.

The 20-year bond that paid for construction of seven classrooms and refurbishing the lunchroom and kitchen back in 1992 was about to be retired.

Would it be possible to ask taxpayers to continue paying the same amount for another 20 years to build a new gymnasium at the school?

The board received a planning grant to investigate that possibility several months ago.

On Tuesday, the board formally voted to place the bond on the June ballot.

This Friday night, Feb. 24, the district will host a “Burn the Bond” ceremony at 6 p.m. The community is invited to stop by for some barbecued chicken wings and a look at the proposed plans for the new gymnasium.

The new 128-by-80-foot building would be located on the north side of the parking lot between the middle and elementary schools.

“It’s not an overly large building,” Metully said. “We’re trying to live within our means. These are hard times and no one wants to raise anyone’s taxes.”

The current low interest rates made the proposed construction viable.

The 1992 bond came in at 7 percent. The new bond would likely be somewhere between 4 percent and 4.75 percent.

The district will request a $761,000 bond.

Metully said board and faculty members will be at the Friday event to answer questions about the proposal.

“We encourage everyone to come, especially the dissenters,” he said. “We want to have a good discussion about this.”

If the community decides this is the direction it wants to go, Metully expects the new building will get a lot of use.

“Our current facility is used all the time by the community,” he said. “We think we have an opportunity to do a real good thing here.”

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

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