Seneca Valley officials are moving forward with plans to borrow more than $5 million to use for building and ground projects around the district over the next three years.
At Monday’s meeting, school board members approved appointing Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC as underwriter to start the process of borrowing up to $5.2 million. Dinsmore & Shohl LLP was appointed as bond counsel.
Lynn Burtner, Seneca Valley’s business manager, said the entities would report back to school officials after the sale of the 12-year bond. Interest rates are between just below 1 percent to 2.5 percent, according to district bond counsel Robert Aumer of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.
Seneca Valley's next step would be to begin bidding out the preventative maintenance projects, Burtner said.
At last week’s school board meeting, officials discussed using the money to repair or replace a number of aging district structures, including the roof at the senior high school and boilers at three of the elementary schools.
The projects would be parceled out in three tentative phases that would take place during the summer months. They include:
- Replacing the 18-year-old roof at the senior high school.
- Replacing the early 1990s-era cooling systems at the senior and intermediate high schools.
- Replacing the rooftops at Connoquenessing Valley, Rowan, Evans City and Haine Elementary schools and at Haine Middle School.
- Replacing the boilers at Connoquenessing, Evans City and Rowan elementary schools.
- Electric service upgrades at the senior and intermediate high schools and at Connoquenessing Valley.
- Lighting upgrades to the intermediate high school.
The total cost for the projects is about $6 million, or $1 million more than the district is considering borrowing. District business manager Lynn Burtner said Seneca Valley has about $1 million left from bond money it received in 2010 for capital improvement projects.
Per tax regulations, what remains of the bond money must be used for capital improvements, Burtner said. It cannot be used to augment the district's operating budget.
Under repayment terms for the loan, Burtner said Seneca Valley would pay about $130,000 each year for the next 10 years. The remaining principal of the loan would be due in the last two years of the bond issue, she said.
Although plans are not final, district officials last week also discussed the possibility of using the financing to help buy new uniforms for the marching band. The band’s uniforms are 12 years old.
The board also mulled adding an electronic marquee sign outside the school, possibly along Interstate 79 or Route 68, to promote school accomplishments and events—as well as mark the entrance to the school’s secondary campus in Jackson Township.
Those potential projects were not discussed at Monday’s meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale told officials last week they would need to decide if they want her to pursue those projects. If board members move forward with those plans, she said she would speak to the marching band's booster organization as well as the band’s foundation about fundraising to help defray the costs of new uniforms, which cost an estimated $118,000.
Vitale also said she would solicit donations for a marquee.