Bond Referendum

From the November 7, 2018 edition of the Transylvania Times

By John Lanier

Voters Approve $68 Million School Bond - Brevard NC

The school bond referendum passed by an overwhelming margin – 9,260 to 6,264 – Tuesday, with all of the county’s precincts but one supporting the bond.

The $68 million bond will be used to provide new construction and extensive renovations at Brevard High School and Rosman High/Middle School.

“I am beyond excited over the results of the bond vote,” said Superintendent Jeff McDaris. “It is humbling to see all the strong support from our community for our schools. The results of this are going to be wonderful for our county and both the Rosman and Brevard communities. The ability to address and improve the infrastructure for both comprehensive high schools and one of our middle schools will yield long-term positive results for our children. Thank you to our school board, the bond committee, educators and staff, and to our citizens for the support of the bond.”

“I am thankful and humbled by the investment made by the citizens of Transylvania County in the future of education in our county,” said Tawny McCoy, chair of the Transylvania County Board of Education. “The overwhelming support for the bond referendum expresses a clear mandate for community schools to remain at Brevard High and Rosman High/Middle School.

“I am looking forward to taking the next steps in the commitments made by the Board of Education to renovate and upgrade our schools to the standards our students deserve. Thank you to all those who contributed in so many ways to make this moment possible.”

Board of Education Vice Chair Ron Kiviniemi said, “I am elated with the results of the bond referendum. I want to thank the citizens of Transylvania County for their support of the school board’s efforts to bring Brevard High, Rosman High and Rosman Middle School up to 21st century standards for safety and learning environments. I would also like to thank the members of the Vote YES committee for their hard work.”

“I am thankful that our community once again supported public education and the children of Transylvania County,” said school board member Alice Wellborn. “The school bond was never a partisan issue – it was a community issue, and the voters responded in a community spirit. I’m proud to be a citizen of Transylvania County.”

“I want to thank the citizens of Transylvania County for making the bond come true, especially for the kids and the young people,” said Marty Griffin, who was re-elected to a second term on the school board. “I wasn’t surprised that it had as big a margin as it did because the citizens of this county have always supported the school system.”

Griffin said there are a lot of families with young children moving into the county and they know the importance of having good schools.

“I am ecstatic with voters’ 60 percent approval of the school bond,” said outgoing board member Betty Scruggs McGaha. “This is for two reasons. First, citizens are continuing a proud Transylvania County history of making schooling a priority. Voters recognized through extensive communication that RHS, RMS and BHS have massive infrastructure, safety and accessibility needs. Our communities, through their voter approval, have said, ‘Yes, we can certainly do better for our students and teachers.’” A second reason for elation is the School Bond approval demonstrates confidence by community citizens in the leadership of elected Transylvania County Board of Education’” said McGaha. “After perusal of facts on the proposed school bond, voters agreed with BOE assessments that yes, our schools have been maintained. However, our loved school buildings are like a favorite pair of old boots which have been polished and resoled numerous times – they are just worn out.

“I just have to give a sincere, heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Transylvania County citizens.”

The bond received its strongest support in Brevard and Dunn’s Rock.

In three of Brevard’s four precincts, more than 68 percent of the voters supported the bond.

In Dunn’s Rock, 66 percent supported the bond.

The only precinct in which the bond failed was TC1, which includes the Balsam Grove area.

The vote there was 273 against and 229 in support.

In the fall of 2015, the school board received an assessment from the architectural firm Clark Nexsen that the cost to upgrade the school system’s buildings to meet modern building codes and educational standards was $118 million.

By compressing the time frame for construction, school administrators reported that the work could be done for $93 million.

The Board of Education eventually decided to seek $68 million for the Brevard High and Rosman High/Middle campuses because they are in the most need of repair and renovation, and most children in the county, including those attending charter, private and home schools, would be attending them.

Now that the bond has passed, school board members are focusing on the next steps for construction.

“The board will now need to do a Request for Qualifications (RFQs) from architectural firms and then have presentations from the firms at a school board meeting. We would then select a firm to design our projects,” said Kiviniemi.

“Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and really get to work,” said Wellborn. “The first step is to work with an architectural firm to produce detailed plans for the renovations. This step will take several months – probably a year or more. “Once the plans are completed and approved, the current plan is to begin work on both Brevard High and Rosman Middle/High at the same time. The bond addresses Brevard High and Rosman Middle/High because these buildings have the most critical needs and these schools serve every child in the county. The Board of Education will continue to work with the Board of Commissioners to address the needs at our other six campuses as well.”

 

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