HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Nickerson-South Hutchinson USD 309 Superintendent Curtis Nightingale said that the bond amount his district is planning on is smaller than they originally thought.
"Between inflation and interest rates, we've made some adjustments to that," Nightingale said. "Now, $8.75 million is the number that we're looking at. We've obviously pulled back a little bit. I think, between inflation and construction costs right now, you're really having to start looking at some things. We're looking at similar things that we're trying to get accomplished and how they have bid out in other areas of the state. There's been a lot of bonds going on around the state of Kansas. You have an opportunity to look and say, okay, they are doing something similar to what we're doing, what were their prices looking like? That gives us an opportunity to kind of better gauge."
Several items across the district will be addressed through the bond.
"We have some roof issues we've got to address," Nightingale said. "That's primarily one of the top things we're taking care of. We've been able to handle a lot of our rooftop unit needs, heating and air, with the ESSER funds that came out. We can kind of take that off our list, which helps us a little bit. The other things we're looking at doing is a major auditorium upgrade at the high school. That auditorium, I'm not sure it's ever been upgraded, since it was built. It's got a lot of needs, sound and lights and the seating. There's no ADA accessibility there in terms of seating, etc. Those are some things that need to be done and we've got some facility needs, security wise. Every one of the buildings would be touched with some security measures, in terms of just that secured access into the buildings. Another component we need to address is classroom space. South Hutch is one of our largest, if not our largest building in the district. We're just kind of at the seams in that building. The conversation has kind of revolved around, do you add on another section to South Hutch? If you've ever been in that building, much like the high school, it's really spread out and kind of all over the place. We're looking at that, in terms of what ground we have available and what that could look like. At the same time, we've got a middle school that's in a really good spot. We've got good ground out there. It's a good facility. There's been a lot of conversation in the district, dating back several superintendents, about moving that sixth grade out of the elementary schools to the middle school, similar to other schools in our area."
What would that look like if it happens at Reno Valley Middle School?
"That would make a lot more sense, in terms of being able to add a sixth grade wing or a sixth grade pod to the middle school, where those students would kind of have their own section where they would have four classrooms, maybe they'd empty into a central commons area. The only time they would need to be in the rest of the building, necessarily is for lunch and specials like art and PE and those types of things. As we look at it, in terms of putting that footprint together, that's one that I think the administrative team and the board have kind of settled on that makes the most sense."
The move would only take place if the bond passes, and Nightingale didn't say how fast that construction could take place.