The Ohio Hi-Point Board of Education voted unanimously to move forward with renovations on the Bellefontaine Main Campus during a Special Meeting held Wednesday evening.
In May 2018, voters approved a continuing Permanent Improvement Levy. The funds from the levy would allow the district to renovate the existing buildings on the Bellefontaine Main Campus and purchase and update equipment used in Ohio Hi-Point's satellite programs, which are in 11 out of the 14 partner school districts Ohio Hi-Point serves.
On June 26, 2019, the Board of Education passed a resolution authorizing a partnership with the Bellefontaine Development and Finance Authority that would facilitate the financing related to the renovation and new construction of Ohio Hi-Point's campus.
The Board's vote on Wednesday evening moves the project forward in terms of further defining the scope and timeline, the cost estimate, and parameters associated with repayment term and interest rates to finance the project.
Before the vote, Superintendent Dr. Rick Smith gave an overview of what the district has done since the Permanent Improve Levy passed in May 2018. The district created design committees consisting of students, staff, administration, board of education, and community members. These committees met with architects from Freytag & Associates to discuss Ohio Hi-Point's guiding principles, education philosophy, campus and classroom design ideas, and construction best practices. They also went on site visits, had book studies, and conducted surveys.
During the meeting, representatives from Freytag & Associates and Thomas & Marker Construction presented design concepts and timelines to the Board of Education. The design concepts include renovated career technical labs, academic spaces, and security reinforcements and upgrades. The timeframe for the concept presented starts in January 2020 and finishes by Fall 2022.
The district plans to sell tax-free municipal bonds to cover the cost of construction. A representative from Bradley Payne Municipal Advisors presented financial scenarios that reflected potential bond market interest rates, repayment terms and corresponding proceeds generated for construction purposes. It was also stated the district is in an ideal position to enter the bond market since interest rates are at a historically low rate.
Action taken by the Board of Education included the following parameters associated with term and interest rate for the construction and renovation project: "The term and interest rate associated with the Lease Purchase Financing and Lease Revenue Bonds will be maximized in the most advantageous manner possible by limiting principal and interest payments to an amount that will not exceed $1,600,000 annually. Potential market and proceed scenarios presented by Bradley Payne Municipal Advisors included interest rates ranging from 3.00 to 3.27 percent and principal amounts ranging from $30,000,000 to $33,600,000."
"It's an exciting time with a lot of information to learn," said Board President, Anne Reames. "We are very thankful to the voters for supporting the academic and career environment at OHP. We're working methodically to use their money wisely and move forward with the project to provide students the best and most innovative education we can."
Superintendent Smith said, "We're excited about moving forward in the process and are thankful to our voters for giving us this opportunity to enhance our educational and career options to better serve our communities."
During the meeting, the board also voted to appoint Bradley Payne Municipal Advisors, LLC as a municipal advisor to the district in connection with the issuance of the Lease Revenue Bonds, Bricker & Eckler LLP to serve as Bond Counsel in connection with the issuance of the Lease Revenue Bonds, and Hilltop Securities Inc. to serve as the underwriter for the sale of the Lease Revenue Bonds.
The out-of-state travel of Eric Adelsberger, Treasurer, and Rick Smith, Superintendent, to attend the bond sale in Dallas, TX, in August, was also approved.