The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Review: 2001 bond paid for dozens of school improvement projects


April 18, 2017

Sweet Home School District Business Manager Kevin Strong told the School Board last week that in response to the bond measure the district is seeking May 16, district officials have been receiving a lot of questions about how the district spent bond funds approved by voters in 2001.

The district has refinanced the $18.7 million bond twice, reducing the tax rate required to pay back the general obligation bonds and then reducing the term of the bond, with a final partial payment due in 2027.

The bond measure before voters May 16, will retain the same rate depending on interest rates at the time of the bond sale and property values. The bond will be paid off at about the same time as the 2001 bond, in 2029.

Depending on interest rates at the time of the bond sale, it may require a partial payment in 2030, according to Strong. The bond would primarily be used to pay for improvements at the Sweet Home Junior High School, including the removal and replacement of classrooms and the cafeteria currently housed in modular buildings, security upgrades and a new roof.

It also would provide security improvements at each of the district’s other schools. The bond would upgrade heating and air conditioning controls, add playground equipment at Foster School, provide hot water to various schools and replace windows at several schools.

The bond is for $4 million. If it is approved by Sweet Home voters, the state has already approved a matching grant of $4 million.

In response to the inquiries, Strong prepared an informational sheet outlining the projects funded by the 2001 bond levy. In addition to the principal, the bond earned an additional $1.2 million in interest while the district held the funds.

The district paid for the following projects using the $18.7 million from the 2001 bond:

- High school reconstruction, including a new library, commons area, cafeteria, kitchen, offices, front entrance, main building classrooms, restrooms and parking lot improvements, $8.3 million.

- A new high school main gym, wrestling room, weight room, locker rooms, restrooms and lobby, $4.4 million.

n Districtwide heating and ventilation upgrades and related asbestos removal, $2 million.

- A wing of eight classrooms at Hawthorne Elementary School, $1.2 million.

- Swimming pool improvements, including mechanical systems, a locker room and entrance upgrades, $862,000.

- Districtwide roofing projects, $698,000.

- Districtwide restroom improvements and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance improvements, $632,000.

- Districtwide electrical system upgrades, $443,000.

- Districtwide blacktop and concrete repairs, $283,000.

- The removal of an underground oil storage tank and environmental cleanup, $217,000.

- Covered play structures at Hawthorne, Oak Heights, Crawfordsville and Holley schools, $142,000.

- Districtwide fire and security alarms, $133,000.

- Districtwide control system improvements for heating and lighting, $117,000.

- Auditorium seating repairs and improvements, $90,000.

- Bond issuance costs, $41,000.

- Junior High lockers, $38,000.

- Junior High gym bleachers, $33,000.

- Asbestos sampling and floor tile replacement, $25,000.

- Districtwide intercom system improvements, $23,000.

- Gym bleachers at Foster School, $21,000.

- Siding on the Foster School gym, $17,600.

- Well and water system repairs, $13,700.

- Districtwide window replacements, $11,500.

- Districtwide emergency lights, $10,400.

- Storage during construction, $7,500.

- Districtwide bells, clocks and related wiring, $4,900.

- Foster health room construction, $4,500.

- Plumbing repairs, $4,200.

In addition, Linn-Benton Community College paid $500,000 for the LBCC center to be housed on the Sweet Home High School campus. That structure will revert to the Sweet Home School District after 30 years.

For more information about the proposed bond, visit or contact the superintendent’s office at (541) 367-7126.


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