First SD2 bond projects could go out to bid as early as January

2013-11-07T00:00:00Z 2013-11-08T08:53:07Z First SD2 bond projects could go out to bid as early as JanuaryBy ROB ROGERS The Billings Gazette

School District 2 officials spent Wednesday morning meeting with A&E Architects, looking at the next several months of facilities work to be done now that voters have passed a $122 million bond.

SD2 will be building two new middle schools, completely renovating and remodeling McKinley and Broadwater schools and making upgrades and improvements at nearly every other elementary school in the district. 

"One of the first things we have to do," said Superintendent Terry Bouck, "we have to get together all the facts and information (on the projects) so the board can make a very informed decision on where to begin."

Over the next two months, the board will have to decide which middle school to build first and which school — Broadwater or McKinley — gets remodeled first.

"Nothing has been decided yet," said Chairman Allen Halter. 

The board will use the next two months to make many of those decisions, something Halter said he looks forward to.  

It's a two-month window because the district must wait 60 days from the date of the election to secure the voting results and hear any protests. At that point, SD2 will sell the first series of bonds. 

"As soon as the bonds are sold we can go out for bids," said Leo Hudetz, board clerk and SD2's chief financial officer. 

The district will use the financial firm D.A. Davidson & Co. to manage the sale of the bonds, he said. 

Voters approved a series of federal bonds in 2010 and 2012 and each time SD2 made available to Billings residents opportunities to buy some of those bonds. Hudetz said the district will do that again. 

The bond projects are roughly divided into two categories, new construction and deferred maintenance. 

The deferred maintenance projects will improve windows, roofs, wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling and other basics at most of the district's elementary schools.

The construction projects include the remodeling of McKinley and Broadwater, which involve building entire new wings onto the buildings. 

And finally, the district will build a new middle school in the Heights and another on the West End. 

The district hopes to have the deferred maintenance work completely finished in the next three and half years, and one new middle school finished and either Broadwater or McKinley updated. 

"These are big decisions for us moving forward," said Halter. 

The community again will be brought into the process, as it was done over the past year and a half. 

And Halter hopes those planning meetings and work sessions will carry a celebratory atmosphere. The passage of the bond was a game-changer for the community, he said. 

"We are thankful to the voters."

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