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updated: 11/1/2013 10:06 AM

Dist. 116 studying possible Round Lake High School expansion

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  • Bill Johnston

      Bill Johnston

 
 

Round Lake Area Unit District 116 board members plan to discuss the best way to borrow several million dollars that would go toward a high school expansion and improvements.

District 116 school board members will gather as a finance committee for discussion Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Round Lake High School, 800 High School Drive, Round Lake.

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Board members are expected to vote next month on whether to approve placing a referendum on the March ballot seeking voter permission to borrow for the proposed work. Officials have said the goal is to not cause a property tax hike.

Elected officials on Monday intend to discuss debt structuring options for a hypothetical $29 million the district would borrow through a bond sale to investors. Exactly how much money would be needed for the proposed project should be known late this month, said Bill Johnston, District 116's assistant superintendent for business.

"Part of the overall funding plan would also include refinancing some existing debt to remove higher debt payments that are scheduled to occur over the next few years, so that taxpayers are not burdened with increasing annual debt service payments," Johnston said.

Round Lake High was built for 1,370 students, but it now houses about 2,055 teenagers, according to the district. Two portable buildings are being used, and students are on two daily schedules.

As part of the district's long-range facilities plan, the school board approved exploring construction of an addition to include at least 33 classrooms to address crowding and improving the existing structure.

District documents show the design goals include a desire for delivering "21st century learning" with upgraded technology, thermal comfort, sustainability and improved air quality.

Community forums have been held on the plan, with the next set for Dec. 5. School board members are to receive final design plans next month.

In January, District 116 board members decided against placing a referendum on last spring's ballot about whether to borrow $36 million for expansion and other improvements at the high school.

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