A subject of interest to many in the Fowler area in the upcoming election is 5A, a bond issue that if passed would create an asset and improvement for the entire Fowler community. A few of the benefits to the community would be improved facility design and security, cutting edge technology, a reduction in maintenance expenses and increased property values throughout the community.
Leading up to this initiative was a considerable amount of research and planning by citizens supporting this initiative, the Fowler Board of Education, a professional consulting firm, and the Fowler School administrators. An in depth comparison was undertaken comparing making improvements to the current facility or construction of a new facility and costs related to each effort. To perform renovations to keep the current high school secure and respond to maintenance issues the Fowler area will need to raise 4.9 million dollars in bond issue and then request 33.1 million dollars more from the BEST grant.
Renovation would be a two year long project resulting in the need for temporary classrooms to be erected outside the existing high school. Construction of a new high school is the other alternative. New construction would require the same local bond issue to pass and raise 4.9 million but then would be accompanied by a 43.1 million dollar BEST grant request to allow construction of a new school. This option would not require displacement of students and temporary classrooms. New construction would occur next to the existing elementary school and would not create any interruption in using the current school. The collaborative group strongly recommends the option of construction a new school considering all the facts.
Should 5A pass and for some reason the BEST grant not be obtained to allow new construction, the bond issue will be cancelled and have no effect on tax payers. In other words, the bond issue and any tax effects will not occur unless the BEST grant is also obtained. To stay competitive and meet the needs for increased security and safety, technical ability and increased classroom and athletic programs investment is required. Many feel that for the local impact of 4.9 million dollars the gain of a new high school is a better alternative than remodeling the old high school, with its existing issues, which will continue to have maintenance demands and short falls.
A similar bond issue that allowed construction of the new Fowler Elementary School will be ended early and under budget. If 5A passes, it will replace the old bond issue sequentially with similar results to tax payers. A new high school could offer growth resulting in increased property values to citizens and relief from ongoing maintenance demands at the current high school over the next 5 to 40 years. A new high school will be the focal point within the Fowler community which is well known for its pride and excellence in academics and athletics in their school system. 5A is a chance to benefit our community while the funds exist from the BEST grant and maintain Fowler’s position as one of the best schools in the state.