Almanac

Schools - August 7, 2013

Woodside School may put bond measure on ballot

by Renee Batti

As Woodside Elementary School District officials consider asking residents to pass a bond measure next spring for construction, safety and modernization projects, a team of volunteers is going to work to raise funds from private donors in an attempt to whittle down the amount of money the district would seek.

Beth Polito, superintendent and principal of the one-school district, said identified projects are estimated to cost just over $16 million. The school board has discussed options for a bond measure, and is considering placing a measure on the June 2014 ballot, she said, adding that the decision will be made in March.

Of the building projects, the highest-cost item would be the demolition of the Sellman Auditorium and construction of a new building that would include a permanent stage, added storage, connection to the campus' music room, a new food service area, and restrooms, according to a report from earlier this year. That project would cost an estimated $7.67 million.

Other projects under consideration include the demolition of the existing relocatable classroom and the construction of two new classrooms, at an estimated cost of about $1.7 million; the demolition of the existing relocatable classroom No. 19 and construction of a new 1,000-square-foot flexible classroom space, at an estimated cost of $711,000; and safety, security, maintenance and modernization projects costing an estimated $5.9 million.

The report noted that the school's "already robust music and drama program is not well-served by the current (Sellman Auditorium) facilities." The report describes the replacement auditorium as the same size as the old — 8,560 square feet, but with a permanent stage, increased audio-visual capabilities, improved acoustics, better lighting, storage for related equipment, and audience seating.

Representatives from architectural firms interested in taking on the project are expected to be on campus on Thursday for a walk-through.

Ms. Polito said volunteers formed a team in late June to launch a fundraising effort in hope of lowering the estimated $16 million the district would otherwise have to raise through a bond issue. "The Woodside community is used to, and expects, some private fundraising" for capital projects at the school, she said.

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