The clock is ticking on the feasibility of a renovation project for the Clay Community School Corporation.
The school board will need to make a decision to hold a 10-28 public meeting to get a project approved by the end of January in order for costs to be consistent with current projections.
The timeline was presented as part of a revised recommendation to the school board during a public work session Thursday night.
The architects, bond counselor, construction management and financial counselor who created the original proposal were given limitations, based on concerns expressed by the community, to create a new proposal.
Only six community members attended the meeting, and most participated in the building committees' evaluation process.
A two-phase project was proposed to the board Thursday that would only renovate the elementary school buildings.
The first phase would cost $19 million and complete much of the original proposal's work on Eastside, Forest Park, Meridian and Staunton Elementary Schools.
Part of the cost includes $250,000 safety and security measures for all school buildings.
Schmidt Associates architect Tom Neff said the phases were divided by needs, and removing modular classrooms and an elevator for Meridian were indicated as high-need projects.
Phase two includes the buildings that would need no new construction, Van Buren, Clay City and Jackson Township Elementary Schools.
The second phase would start in five to six years, and cost $6.6 million at today's prices, but when costs are adjusted for inflation, it could be as high as $8.6 million.
The project would include connecting Jackson Township's sewer to the city sewer system, as well as finishing window replacements and roofing projects already begun on the buildings.
Damien Maggos from City Financial explained the financing for the two projects.
First, a $16.9 million bond would be sold at the end of 2008, and would be completed by 2016 at an interest rate of around 3.76 percent.
Because the corporation would not start making payments on principal for a full year after the bond is issued, a general obligation bond of $2.47 million would be sold for a term of one year at 3.5 percent interest.
The additional $250,000 needed to complete the $19 million project would be taken from earned interest on the bond money, which will be invested over a 24-month construction period.
Phase two financing is an $8.75 million dollar bond sold at the end of 2013, and would be completed in three-and-a-half years at a projected interest rate of 3.5 percent.
The project would keep the debt service rate at the .38 cents per $100 rate for the next 10 years, provided assessments and interest do not skyrocket.
If the board presents the project for 10-28 hearing approval, a 1 percent increase in interest would be factored in, Maggos said, because what is approved is "what we'll need to live under."
The total of both phases of the project is $31.6 million dollars, which accounts for not only the debt repayment, but general fund expenditures as well.
Members of the board found issues with the proposal, from several different perspectives.
Steve Grigsby asked Maggos for financial estimates for a nine-year bond combining both phases of the project.
Grigsby was interested in possible savings in inflation and interest by one bond sale. Maggos, who was unable to give concrete estimates, said a trade off for inflation savings would be an increased interest rate on the bonds.
Grigsby asked Maggos to provide the estimates for a single bond issue, adding "If (a nine-year bond) is a wash or less, we would be foolish" not to consider it.
Terry Barr expressed her concern that the high schools, middle school and bus facility would not be addressed in the project.
Because the project would take care of many of the Capital Projects Fund issues that are currently on Tom Reberger's 10-year plan, more money from the fund would be able to go to addressing the middle and high schools' needs.
The board could also wait until after the two projects were finished in 2018 to propose a plan for the remaining facilities.
Barr asked Maggos for estimated costs for a third phase, which would include the middle and high schools, as well as the transportation facilities.
Brian Atkinson reminded Barr of the length of time it took between proposal and completion of the Northview High School project, and to "not roll the dice" and push a project the community would not support.
Rick Godsey, a member of the committee that sent building needs to the board, commented, "There's no way you can wait for 10 years to do the high schools."
Jeff Qualkinbush from Barnes and Thornburg Law Firm, Indianapolis, gave the board two calendars for completing the bond sales.
One calendar was based on the renovation project going through uncontested, and the other calendar figured in a petition and remonstrance.
Qualkinbush said if the community requested remonstrance but the project went through, it could delay the design process by four to six months.
He also said, if a decision was not made before the end of January, the entire calendar would be thrown off and money would need to be taken out of the bond issue to pay for fees that currently would be paid for beforehand.
After all of the questions were raised, Superintendent Dan Schroeder asked to set another meeting date to discuss the new configurations Maggos was asked for.
The board will have its regular monthly meeting Thursday, Jan. 10, and another work session on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 6 p.m., at North Clay Middle School.