#BuildD60 Status Update: Feb. 3, 2020

posted Feb 3, 2020, 2:02 PM by Anthony Sandstrom
The most important part of Pueblo School District 60’s Bond Improvement Program – the final sale of 20-year bonds to investors – was successfully closed Jan. 29.

What that means is that $207.61 million will now be available to Pueblo School District 60 as it begins the first phase of the $218 million Bond Improvement Program approved by Pueblo voters in Nov. 2019. 


The remaining $10.64 million will be set aside as matching funds for a Colorado Building Excellent Schools Today (“BEST”) grant application.


Assisted by Stifel, Nicolaus Public Finance of Denver and underwritten by RBC Capital Markets of Denver, bonds were sold to insurance companies, money managers, trust departments, municipal bond mutual funds and several individuals. 


With the bond funds, District 60’s Bond Improvement Program will allow for construction and improvement projects (with estimated costs) at the following schools: 


  • New build of Centennial and East high schools ($75.7 million each)

  • Central High School ($25.4 million)

  • South High School ($10.62 million)

  • Pueblo Academy of Arts ($12.99 million)

  • Heaton Middle School ($4.46 million)

  • Belmont Elementary ($6.03 million)

  • Beulah Heights Elementary ($2.35 million)

  • Franklin School of Innovation ($6.57 million)

  • Highland Park Elementary ($2.56 million)

  • Minnequa Elementary ($1.3 million)

  • South Park Elementary ($4.21 million)

  • Sunset Park Elementary ($4.76 million)

  • Demolition of Heroes Academy ($2.4 million)

  • Improvements for D60 charter schools ($2 million)


Big savings for taxpayers


In an attempt to stretch to taxpayers’ dollars even further, District 60 is holding back the remaining $10.64 million worth of bonds to apply for a BEST grant from the State of Colorado. If the grant application is successful, those remaining bonds would be sold and used as matching funds for the BEST grant, resulting in $28 million that would not need to be re-paid by taxpayers.


That $28 million would then be used to build two new elementary schools that are proposed to be renovated under the current bond plan. 


In addition, the very positive investor response to the bond offering has resulted in a better interest rate, which saves taxpayers even more money in the long run. 


Similar to a home mortgage, District 60 will repay the bonds over the next 20 years at an all in true interest cost of 2.41%, which includes the cost of issuance for the bond sale. In the 2019 bond measure, voters approved an annual bond payment of $19.5 million. Because of the bulk of bonds sold, the annual bond payment paid by District 60 will only be $17.5 million, a total savings of $33.6 million to taxpayers throughout the bond’s 20-year lifetime. 


“Our goal is to be good stewards of the bond funds approved by Pueblo voters in November,” District 60 Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso said, “and our partners at Stifel and RBC Capital have further allowed us to reach that goal. We are looking to stretch the bond funds as far as we can, so Pueblo could have more value for their investment in our schools.”


More #BuildD60 January updates


In addition to the bond sale, several other preliminary milestones were met as the District 60 Bond Improvement Program gets underway:


Citizens’ Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) meets: Approved by the Board of Education in December to serve two-year terms on the CBAC were Aaron Suazo, Gary Trujillo, Randy Lind, Michael Donnell, Todd Mihelich, Kenneth Lane, Brittany Campbell, Matthew Trujillo and Deborah Stephens. 


At its first meeting in January, Lane was voted chair of the committee, and Matthew Trujillo was voted vice-chair. The committee will have its second regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and give comment.


Documents from past and future CBAC meetings can be found at http://www.pueblocityschools.us/2019-bond-program/citizens-bond-advisory-committee-cbac


HGF Architects, Inc. & MOA selected to design Centennial and East: Following an interview process with a 10-member selection committee, the Board of Education approved a $5.6 million contract with MOA Architecture and Pueblo-based HGF Architects, Inc. to partner in designing two high schools with a 1,000-student capacity. 


At the Jan. 16 Board of Education meeting, board member Barb Clementi, who also served on the 10-member selection committee, said MOA/HGF was clearly the top choice. Using two separate evaluation metrics that rated both the cost and the quality of the design presentation, MOA/HGF was the top choice in each, Clementi said.


“They were the only group that didn’t come to us with things they already decided about the schools,” Clementi said. “They knew that our community wants to be part of this design and planning, and they are willing to adapt to what the District and the community wants. (MOA/HGF) very quickly rose to the top of this interview system.”


Among the local projects HGF has designed include Heritage Elementary, the CSU-Pueblo Student Recreation Center, and the Pueblo City-County Health Department building. MOA has designed the Colorado College Music Building, Vista Peak High School in Aurora, and much more.


General Contracting firm to be tentatively selected in February: Similar to the process used to select an architect, a general contracting firm will be selected to head construction. A recommendation will be tentatively taken to the Board of Education for discussion at its Feb. 13 work session, with action to be taken on the selection of a contractor by its Feb. 25 regular board meeting. 


Additionally, the Bond Construction Project Manager/Owner Field Representative position, which is a District 60 staff position, is still open until filled. 


Upcoming timeline: Beginning in late spring or early summer, renovation work is slated to begin at various District 60 sites. Building up to that, contractors to do HVAC and electrical work at renovation sites will be selected. Additionally, design is underway for the demolition of the vacant Heroes Academy building, which is targeted for the summer.


By late 2020 or early 2021, the architectural plan for the new Centennial and East high schools will be drawn up.

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