Beloit Turner Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said the target price for the district’s proposed new high school would be about $28 million, according to estimates from Bray Architects.
The potential impact of the referendum project would be an additional $144 in taxes annually for a home valued at $100,000.
The ad hoc committee met Monday evening to discuss building a new Beloit Turner High School. McCarthy gave the latest renderings available from Bray Architects and shared his views on why now is a good time to pursue the referendum.
The proposed footprint of the new high school would be 165,835 square feet with a capacity for 600 students. McCarthy stressed the plans are still preliminary, noting final details of the space would have to be discussed more by the ad hoc committee and approved by the Board of Education. However, if the Board of Education wants the proposed referendum included in the April election, it would have to approve a resolution in January.
McCarthy said it’s a good time to consider the referendum because of increases in student population, lower interest rates of 3.5 percent and low construction costs.
The total number of students in the starting count for the 2012-2013 school year was 1,478. There were 303 students enrolling into the district, and 104 enrolling out of the district.
Enrollment was only 1,201 in September of 2003-2004, showing a more than 23 percent increase.
In 2010-2011, almost 10 percent of the district’s operating budget revenue was the result of open enrollment. However, open enrollment expenditures have never exceeded 5 percent of the district’s operating budget. Without open enrollment, the district would have been forced to cut $752,818 from its 2011-2012 budget.
If Turner was to expand in the future, McCarthy explained that Townview Elementary — currently a third, fourth and fifth grade school — would become an early childhood education center with pre-K and kindergarten students. The district would keep Townview open and try to find a community user for a portion of the building.
Powers Elementary School would house first and second graders and be expanded from four classes per grade level to five classes per grade level. The middle school would house grades three, four and five, and the existing high school building would house sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
McCarthy noted the district has managed its fiscal affairs without raising taxes and burdening property taxpayers. For the past four years, for example, the tax levy has remained at $4.8 million.
McCarthy said the Turner School District purchased a 40-acre parcel of land in the spring of 2010 for a future high school site and has been planning for a future high school for the past five years.