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Third time’s a charm - Voters say yes

September 14, 2011

Kelly Boje was happy to see the last ballot box come in Tuesday evening, as that meant her job at the Custer County Clerk’s office was nearly finished for the night!

Forty-six percent of registered voters in the Broken Bow school district went to the polls Tuesday to cast their vote on whether or not to approve a $5.8 million bond for an addition and renovation to North Park school. The OFFICIAL results of that election are:
960 - YES
700 - NO
This was the third attempt at a school bond for the district, and is less than half the cost of the previous bond requests.
The project will accomplish the following goals:
1. Eight additional classrooms to house 3rd and 4th grade.
2. Two additional classrooms to move 2nd grade back in to the main building.
3. Media center/computer lab large enough to accommodate K-4.
4. Multipurpose room for PE classroom and indoor recess (possible Community Safe Room), large enough to accommodate K-4.
5. Abandon the east annex and repurpose the west annex.
6. Four additional SPED/special use classrooms.
7. New mechanical system for the new and renovated space.
8. New roof for the new and renovated space.
9. Renovate the existing building.
10. Enlarge the current kitchen.
11. Improve the entrance and security system.
In a community telephone survey conducted last spring, citizens made it known it is their desire to retain the use of Custer as part of the school facilities. The board took that into consideration with this plan and opted to utilize Custer as a 5th and 6th grade facility.
The district has already qualified for Qualified Construction Bonds in the amount of $5.83 million. The bonds will be at .5 percent and will be a 15-year bond.
The school board approved a resolution for the bond election at its July meeting, which began the process of planning and informing the public. At that July meeting, several board members said they felt this was the right project at the right time for the community. Matt Haumont was the lone no vote on the board for the bond resolution.
Work on the project is expected to begin in early spring 2012, with completion scheduled for the fall of 2013.
“Tuesday was a good day for the community of Broken Bow. We put a project on the ballot that takes care of kids and is a good value for taxpayers, and the voters agreed,” said school board president Michelle Zlomke upon hearing the news the bond had passed.
Zlomke, along with fellow board members Tracy Popp and Don Davis, were all part of the board during the previous two failed bond elections and have all been involved in the process of trying to address the school’s facilities issues from the beginning.
“We first started working on potential solutions for our buildings five years ago with a facilities audit,” Zlomke explains. “We have looked at a lot of alternatives, we have had two failed bond issues and the work has been the primary focus of the board for the last few years. After that kind of effort, it's very fulfilling to finally have a project that is acceptable to the community.”
With the district continuing to face the challenge of a shortage of available classroom space, the board spent months gathering information and weighing their options for solving the dilemma. Input from the community in the form of the telephone survey helped the board determine the needs citizens felt demanded the highest priority. Respondents rated the need for air conditioning as the number one improvement needed, followed closely by additional classrooms and up-to-date technology.
“Each time we have approached the community with a potential solution to our building needs, we have seen more and more people become involved,” says Zlomke. “People are more educated, more interested in the needs and more motivated to share their own opinions. It's the people of the community who really deserve the credit for the success of this bond issue.”
BD Construction of Kearney will serve as the construction manager at-risk company for the project. CG Architects of North Platte are designing the project.
“This is an exciting time for Broken Bow with a lot of great things happening, we have so many things to be proud of as we grow,” said Zlomke. “And we can continue to be proud of our schools and confident in our ability to do our best for the community's children.”

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