.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

District To Pursue PPEL Vote For Athletic Complex

-A A +A
By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

The Glenwood Community School District will once again seek the approval of voters to secure financing for a major overhaul to the Glenwood Athletic Complex. At its regular monthly meeting Monday, the Glenwood Board of Directors voted unanimously to go to a special election for a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) to fund the project. The board’s decision to seek another referendum comes nearly eight months to the day since district voters rejected a $6 million, 10-year tax levy for the same project last April. The board is targeting Feb. 6, 2018, as the tentative date for the next special election, according to Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray. The board considered a second go at the PPEL only after discussions with the Youth Action Committee (YAC), a group of district residents spearheading a public and private partnerships to update the aging athletic facility, yielded a new, scaled back plan with a price tag estimated at $3.7 million. The new plan still includes a complete facelift for the more than 50-year old athletic complex, including a new track surface, press box, bleachers, locker rooms, concessions stands, restrooms and parking lot. The new proposal, however, does not include the installation of artificial field turf and a planned pedestrian bridge over Keg Creek to an auxiliary parking lot, a savings of more than $400,000. Board President Curt Becker said the new plan takes into account the concerns of last April’s “No” voters who called the original plan too “grandiose” and balked at the $6 million cost. Becker said the new proposal addresses those concerns and also includes a plan for the district to contribute funds to the project to alleviate the burden on district taxpayers and a more aggressive private fundraising campaign by YAC to contribute to the project. A $3.7 million levy would mean a district homeowner, whose home is valued at $100,000, would pay approximately $55 more annually in taxes, according to calculations provided by the district. “We feel pretty good about what we’re bringing to the voters and we’ll continue to be cautious in looking at the use of funds and balancing that with infrastructure needs of the district,” Becker said. Embray said the district could commit about $2 million to the project via the district’s Secure and Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund it receives through its one-cent sales tax levy. Embray called the new referendum “doable” under the current conditions. “Roughly 1,200 people said no and 800 roughly said yes last time,” Embray said. “We listened to the feedback to scale it back and people that weren’t informed enough about it. And now there’s a contribution (from the district), where before there wasn’t. We feel this is a win-win for everybody. This is something we want to have that will last 50 or 60 years.” In addition to the district contribution from its SAVE fund, YAC is actively pursuing private donors to help off-set costs and pay for project alternates that had to be left off the current proposal, such as field turf, according to Darren Thomas, spokesperson for YAC. “It’ll be an active campaign with the idea if someone wants to donate they do it right to the (Glenwood) booster club,” Thomas said. “We will then be able to contribute it to the project that way.” With an approved PPEL, Becker said the plan calls for the project to be built in a way that would allow for the alternate projects – field turf, the pedestrian bridge – to be added seamlessly should cost estimates come in lower than expected or should a private partner step in to assist in the funding. YAC and the board are planning a series of informational meetings to flesh out the financial and physical details for voters prior to the special election. The dates of those events have yet to be set as of press time. Embray said if the referendum is approved in February, the design and spec phase will likely carry into the summer with construction beginning as early as Fall 2018. Construction is expected to last 12 to 18 months.