The FWSU Story: BFA Fairfax School Board Approves Building Bond

We are excited to share that after nearly two years of significant work, the Long Range Facilities Committee (LRFPC) has recommended, and the BFA Fairfax School Board has accepted, a building bond not to exceed $26.4 million. The bond proposal reflects a balance of the immediate needs and goals, while providing options for both the short and long term needs and goals of our school community. 

The LRFPC has completed a comprehensive process of evaluating our space needs, reviewing to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, and revisiting the previous assessments of the building’s mechanical, electrical, architectural, and code and compliance/life safety needs. In addition, we surveyed the community in the fall of 2018 and incorporated the feedback into this proposal. Finally, we have reviewed the previous recommendations for the building and have identified and classified building needs and recommendations into four categories (safety, accessibility, opportunities, and efficiencies). 

In an effort to provide choices, this building bond will have three articles for the community to consider and vote on:  

ARTICLE I 

Shall general obligation bonds of the Fairfax Town School District in an amount not to exceed $16,000,000 subject to reduction from the application of available state and federal grants-in- aid be issued for the purpose of financing the final design, permitting, site work and the construction of renovations, capital improvements and additions to Bellows Free Academy Fairfax Elementary, Middle and High School together with related site work and eligible project expenses. The renovations shall include adding four (4) classrooms to the elementary school, redesigning the entrances for all three schools and the library, reorganizing the Middle School (science labs, art and maker space, a hallway to the playground, improved space for S.T.E.A.M [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math] programs) , relocating the nurse’s station for grades 5-12, consolidating administrative offices, adding sprinkler systems where required, improving lighting and providing storage for athletic uniforms, the estimated cost of such improvements being $16,000,000. 

ARTICLE II 

In the event Article 1 is approved and only in the event Article 1 is approved, shall general obligation bonds of the Fairfax Town School District in an amount not to exceed $3,800,000, subject to reduction from the application of available state and federal grants- in-aid, be issued for the purpose of financing the final design, permitting, site work and the construction of renovations, capital improvements and additions to Bellows Free Academy Fairfax Elementary, Middle and High School together with related site work and eligible project expenses and shall include: a new Middle School Gym with separate Community access, which allows for large music space and additional practice and game space; High School Science labs; new art space; and World Language classrooms, the estimated cost of such improvements being $3,800,000. 

ARTICLE III 

In the event Article 1 is approved, and only in the event Article 1 is approved, shall general obligation bonds of the Fairfax Town School District in an amount not to exceed $6,600,000, subject to reduction from the application of available federal and state grants-in-aid, be issued for the purpose of financing the final design, permitting, site work and the construction of renovations, capital improvements and additions to Bellows Free Academy Fairfax Elementary, Middle and High School together with related site work and eligible project expenses. and shall include: a new High School Auditorium, utilizing the present stage with separate Community access; new spaces for the Band and Chorus; High School Science labs; and World Language classrooms, the estimated cost of such improvements being $6,600,000.

So how will this impact your taxes? Below is a chart that estimates the tax impact on home values based on a 20-year bond at a 2.37% interest rate. Your tax increase will be based on the number of articles that pass. For example, if all three articles pass and if you own a $250,000 home, then you will pay an estimated additional $509 per year. 

There will be four informational sessions for community members to learn more about this bond proposal. The meetings will occur on the following dates:

  • October 10, 2019 6:30 pm  (Middle School Gym)
  • October 26, 2019 10:00 am (Middle School Gym)
  • November 13, 2019 6:30 pm (Middle School Gym)
  • December 02, 2019 Special School Board Meeting 6:30 pm (Multi-Purpose Room)

The bond vote will occur on Thursday, December 05 in the Middle School Gym. There will also be absentee ballots available in the Town Clerk’s Office starting Friday, November 15. We encourage you to participate in the informational meetings and to learn about the details of this exciting opportunity for our community. 

Please feel free to contact Justin Brown (jbrown@fwsu.org), John Tague (jtague@fwsu.org), or Thomas Walsh (twalsh@fwsu.org) if you have any questions. We look forward to engaging our stakeholders in a process that serves our students, staff, and community for the next several decades.

Thomas Walsh is currently Principal of BFA Fairfax Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @educatamount

Be sure to follow FWSU on Facebook and #FWSU on Twitter to see more exciting things happening in our schools!

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