October 17, 2012 | Vol. 24 Edition 42

Bonding process begins for new school

City taking steps forward for construction

The City of Valdez is moving full steam ahead in its planning for the construction of a new middle school after voters approved a $39 million bond measure earlier this month.

Courtesy Valdez City Schools
An artist rendering of the front view of the new middle school.

John Hozey, city manager, told the Valdez City Council that a preliminary market analysis for the bond interest appears favorable, but the actual interest costs cannot be known until the city actually takes the bonds to the marketplace.

“We’re hoping something just under 4 percent,” he said.

The city’s portion of the payments, after the state pays its 60 percent of the bond, will be in the neighborhood of just over $1 million. Combined with the state’s portion, early calculations put the interest payments at $2.66 million.\

Hozey said the city is consulting with bond attorneys and financial advisors to maximize its fiscal advantages, which are a complex issue.

The city is also putting out two “Request for Proposal” contracts – RFPs – before construction can begin.

The first RFP is for a project manager to oversee the process.

“This is a huge project,” Hozey said, “beyond the scope of what we can do in-house.”

The second RFP is for the complete design of the school. The current design is only 35 percent complete.

“That’s a pretty pricey contract,” Hozey said.

Meanwhile, the school district is reviewing options regarding how it will move the current sixth, seventh and eighth graders to Hermon Hutchens Elementary School for the next school year, which begins in late August, 2013.

“It’s more than putting bodies into classrooms,” Rod Morrison, Gilson Middle School principal, said last week.

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