Farm­ing­ton School Seeks To Ex­tend Debt

WOULD HELP PAY FOR FOOT­BALL, SOC­CER, TRACK FA­CIL­I­TIES

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — Farm­ing­ton School Board is ask­ing regis­tered vot­ers to al­low the school dis­trict to ex­tend its debt to give the school the abil­ity to is­sue bonds for Phase 3 of the Farm­ing­ton High School cam­pus.

Farm­ing­ton School Dis­trict col­lects a 42.6-mill prop­erty tax, of which 25 mills is ded­i­cated to gen­eral main­te­nance and op­er­a­tion and 17.6 mills is ded­i­cated to pay­ing off ex­ist­ing debt.

The school is ask­ing vot­ers to al­low it to ex­tend the 17.6 mills an­other 12 years from 2036 to 2048.

The ques­tion to ex­tend debt will be on the Sept. 19 school elec­tion bal­lot. Farm­ing­ton vot­ers will have two op­tions on the bal­lot, ei­ther “For Tax” or “Against Tax.” If ap­proved, the to­tal prop­erty tax rate would re­main the same at 42.6 mills.

Polls will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Regis­tered vot­ers can cast bal­lots at any of the elec­tion cen­ters that day. In Farm­ing­ton, vot­ers can go to Main Street Bap­tist Church.

“All we would be do­ing is ex­tend­ing the debt out,” said Bryan Law, su­per­in­ten­dent of schools. “It’s the same as go­ing from a 15-year note on a house to a 30-year note.”

If vot­ers ap­prove ex­tend­ing debt, the school is propos­ing to is­sue $4.5 mil­lion in bonds with the money to go for “erect­ing and equip­ping new fa­cil­i­ties and mak­ing ad­di­tions and im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties.”

Specif­i­cally, the School Board is propos­ing to use the money to help pay for Phase 3 of the high school cam­pus. Phase 3 in­cludes foot­ball, soc­cer and track fa­cil­i­ties.

Law said his goal is to fin­ish the high school cam­pus with­out a mill­age in­crease.

“I hope vot­ers are happy and sat­is­fied we’ve been able to pro­vide a $30 mil­lion school with­out ask­ing for a mill­age in­crease,” he said.

School of­fi­cials es­ti­mate Phase 3 will cost $5-6 mil­lion for dirt work, track and field fa­cil­i­ties, foot­ball/soc­cer sta­dium, turf sur­face, con­ces­sion stand and bath­rooms, press box, park­ing lot and other ameni­ties.

This cost does not in­clude an in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity. Law said he hopes the project will be able to in­clude the in­door fa­cil­ity at this time but is not sure yet.

Farm­ing­ton would pay for Phase 3 with pro­ceeds from a new bond is­sue and money from its build­ing re­serve ac­count. The cur­rent bal­ance of that fund is about $2 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Mandy Uher, dis­trict trea­surer.

David Faught, with Stephens Inc. of Fayet­teville, said the school would of­fer bonds on or around Oct. 26, if the debt ex­ten­sion passes on the bal­lot, and close on the trans­ac­tion Dec. 12.

Ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary de­sign plans for Phase 3, the new fa­cil­i­ties will be lo­cated on 15-20 acres in the north­west cor­ner of the high school prop­erty, with the foot­ball field and sep­a­rate track both run­ning north to south.

Mark Hague­wood with Hight Jack­son As­so­ci­ates said the new foot­ball/ soc­cer sta­dium would seat 2,500 on the home side and 1,500 on the vis­i­tor’s side. A 170-foot by 20-foot con­ces­sion stand/bath­room fa­cil­ity will be lo­cated on the north end of the foot­ball field. The sta­dium will have a two-story, cus­tom-built press box.

An in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity with of­fice space and locker rooms would be lo­cated on the south end of the foot­ball field.

Foot­ball and soc­cer locker rooms and stor­age would be lo­cated un­der­neath the home stands, with a smaller, sep­a­rate con­ces­sion area and locker room avail­able for track. Vis­it­ing teams will go to locker rooms un­der­neath the vis­i­tor’s stands.

The track will have bleach­ers to seat 500 fans, with a small press box above the stands.

Kinco Con­struc­tion is serv­ing as con­struc­tion man­ager for Phase 3 and re­quests for bids for site work will go out this month, Hague­wood said. Bid pack­ages for con­struc­tion will go out Dec. 20 and will be due Jan. 18, 2018.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

This de­sign from Hight Jack­son As­so­ci­ates shows the lay­out for the new Farm­ing­ton foot­ball/soc­cer sta­dium and sep­a­rate track fa­cil­ity. Both will be lo­cated in the north­west cor­ner of the high school cam­pus. The school is ask­ing vot­ers to be al­lowed to ex­tend debt by 12 years to help pay for the new ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties.

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