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LHS renovation bond on ballot for Feb. 11

Lakewood High School Principal Dale Leach explains some of his favorite features of the proposed LHS modernization bond that
Lakewood High School Principal Dale Leach explains some of his favorite features of the proposed LHS modernization bond that's on the special election ballot for Feb. 11.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood School District's annual Open House and Tech Expo on Tuesday, Jan. 14, also served as another reminder for the district's voters that a proposed Lakewood High School modernization bond is on the special election ballot for Feb. 11.

Fred Owyen, executive director of operations for the Lakewood School District, joined Lakewood High School Principal Dale Leach in the school's cafeteria, to inform the event's attendees of a number of the frequently updated details on the capital bond measure for proposed renovations to the aging LHS facility.

"The early planning work is nearly complete, down to the schematics," said Owyen, who noted that even the conceptual drawings that were available for display that evening were not fully reflective of the latest updates. "The next couple of weeks, we'll be going over more detailed cost estimation, while our architects continue to refine the site plans, right up until Feb. 11."

If Lakewood School District voters do pass the total bond of $66.8 million for major improvements to the LHS facility and surrounding campus on Feb. 11, Owyen explained that this design work would continue, even as construction documents are drawn up and permits are secured, to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective new high school possible.

"We're committed to producing a quality project within the amount that the school district is requesting," Owyen said. "The design will continue to be improved as our team looks at constructing the building."

Leach noted that a southern exposure is being considered for the new building, to afford more efficient lighting and heating, and added that the district's team is looking for possible places to install more solar panels, since Dr. Michael Mack, director of student services and Career and Technical Education for the Lakewood School District, has already secured solar panels for the existing Lakewood High School facility through Public Utility District grant funds.

"Mike is hoping to integrate the data from those solar panels into our science and math classes," said Leach, who touted the applications of such real-time information collection in CTE and environmental science. "If we can set up a server for the solar array that's connected to a network, students can click on it to get a live feed."

The proposed Lakewood High School bond is intended not only to incorporate such forward-thinking concerns — among them, additional spaces for new educational programs, which would accommodate student enrollment growth and team learning areas — but also more basic necessities, such as shoring up the existing facility's safety, security and heating, as well as its plumbing and electrical systems. Site improvements to the surrounding campus would also address traffic and parking concerns.

The estimated 2015 tax rate increase over and above the tax rate currently being paid by Lakewood School District voters, including all levies, would be 51 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which would translate to approximately $10.67 per month for the owner of a $250,000 home, or $12.75 per month for the owner of a $300,000 home.

For more information, log onto the Lakewood School District website at www.lwsd.wednet.edu.

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