BOE: How much money is enough?

Andalusia Star News


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Members wrestle with funding options
for proposed $8M in AHS improvements

Members of the Andalusia Board of Education on Monday asked for more information before taking action the superintendent’s recommendation that they ask the Andalusia City Council to secure a bond for proposed construction projects.

For months, the board of education, the city council, and the council’s specially-appointed Public Building Authority (PBA) has been discussing renovations of the Andalusia High School auditorium and stadium. Members of the PBA have been soliciting private contributions for the project, and there is $1 million in education sales tax proceeds that have been set aside for the project, giving the board approximately $1.75 million on hand with which to start the projects, for which are expected to cost approximately $8 million as currently designed.

Superintendent Ted Watson recommended board members ask the council to seek financing with the following conditions:

The bond would be secured for an amount of no less than $4 million and no more than $6 million.
The bond would be the liability of the City of Andalusia, to be paid using the half-cent sales tax revenue collected by the city for the school system.
The payment of the bond would be made over the duration of no less than 15 years and no more than 30 years.
When pushed for additional information, Watson said the price tag for the project has not yet been determined.

“We won’t know anything in solid terms until we bid everything out,” Watsons aid. “The architects are projecting a range for $8 million to $8.5 million.”

Watson said early estimates are the auditorium project will cost $3.5 to $3.8 million. The project includes demolition of the current stage area, expanding that end of the building, new seats, acoustical improvements and a new sound system, as well as new restroom facilities that would serve both the auditorium and the gymnasium.

The stadium project, which is estimated at $4.2 million, can be done in phases, Watson said, adding that a possible solution would be to begin the auditorium project, and rebuild the press box and home bleachers of the stadium, then reassess the financial situation.

One of the board’s concerns is that demolition in the auditorium means the facility won’t be available for homecoming, and the facility possibly wouldn’t... Read More>

Andalusia Star News