POLSON — They’ve had buckets catching water leaking through the ceiling in the high school computer lab and ceiling tiles come crashing down in the library.
Polson Superintendent Linda Reksten says the 42-year-old roof at Polson High School has to be fixed.
“There is no other option,” Reksten says, but it will be up to School District 23 voters whether they’ll pay for it. No one else is going to.
Ballots seeking a yea-or-nay vote on a nearly $2.5 million debt service bond were mailed out Feb. 5.
They’re due back at the Lake County Courthouse by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
“It’s an emergency situation we have to solve,” Reksten says. “We either fix it now, or rebuild a new high school. It’s simpler to try to fix the roof.”
The $2,491,000 bond would increase the taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 by $9.19 per year.
For a $150,000 home it would go up $13.78 per year; for a $250,000 home, $22.98 per year.
“It’s just like any home,” Reksten says. “There comes a time you have to replace the roof. This one has outlived its usefulness and is way beyond its life span.”
The bond also would renovate the 42-year-old mechanical and ventilation systems. One of the leaks is under one of the aging air handlers on the roof. The air handler is now covered with a tarp.
The high school had to close a day early last spring because of the mounting problems, and Reksten says more closures loom if the issue isn’t addressed.
The estimated cost breakdown goes like this: $977,000 to replace mechanical, heating and ventilation systems; $577,000 for project design, management, contingencies and fees; $563,000 for buildingwide re-roof and envelope upgrades; $245,000 for exterior building fascia and soffit replacement; and $109,000 for asbestos, mold and lead remediation.
The district is promoting the debt service bond on several fronts, including the health and safety of children who attend the school, projected energy savings through improved efficiency, and economic factors such as the work it will provide local contractors and trades people, and the role schools play in attracting new residents to an area.
“It’s a community building,” Reksten says. “It doesn’t belong to the school district, it belongs to the people of Polson. I do know the voters I have talked to, and that our trustees have talked to, understand we have to do something.”