Mammoth’s school district considers financing options for renovations
At the April 28 Mammoth Unified School District (MUSD) Board Meeting, The School Board heard two presentations regarding proposed facility updates to Mammoth’s elementary, middle and high schools.
Both presentations recommended district-wide improvements that exceed currently allocated funds for facility improvements. The presenters, principals of HMC Architects and financial consultant Dale Scott of Dale Scott and Company, recommended using a bond series to finance the projects. Taxpayers are still paying off a $14.1 million bond series approved by voters in 1998 for district-wide facility improvements and the construction of the Mammoth Middle School building. That bond won’t be paid off until 2026. In 2008, MUSD placed a $65 million bond series to fund construction of a new High School on the ballot, which failed.
Earlier this year, MUSD hired HMC Architects to work with district staff and students to create a conceptual design for improved school facilities, as well as a Facilities Master Plan to care for those facilities. According to MUSD Business Manager Brooke Bien, there is no Master Plan currently in place. Mammoth High School (MHS), which was built before Mammoth Lakes was incorporated, and Mammoth Elementary School (MES), which was constructed in 1982, both face deferred maintenance projects that exceed what is budgeted annually for facilities maintenance and operations.
MUSD’s projected annual budget for 2016-2017 is $13,282,654. Some of those funds come from State and Federal grants, but most are gleaned from local property taxes. At the April 28 School Board Meeting, HMC representatives presented two conceptual designs with rough construction cost estimates.
Option one for MES included a roughly 18,000 square-foot addition that would allow for the removal of existing portable classrooms by adding four new classrooms to each of the wings, as well as renovations to the rest of the school that include alterations to make it more secure. According to HMC, that project would cost roughly $18 million. Option two added a new “pre-engineered” building to provide indoor play space, for a cost of about $22.6 million.
The first option proposed for Mammoth Middle School (MMS) included an 11,191 square-foot addition with a new library for about $6 million. Option two includes phased construction of a new library and three new science labs for $4.2 million.