Report sums up Lake Havasu Unified School District bond expenses

December 7, 2018

It seemed as though the whole town turned out to attend Lake Havasu High School’s first home football game in August. Supporting the Knights was the goal, but everyone also wanted a closer look at the $8 million overhaul of Lee Barnes Stadium.

The spiffy new stadium was the most visible capital improvement project in 2018 for the Lake Havasu Unified School District. It was paid for through the first of three rounds of bond funding. In 2016, more than 13,000 voters approved a $49 million bond.

Bond issuances occur every three years. The first was in 2017, to be followed in 2020 and 2023. The money is earmarked for improvements in maintenance, transportation, technology and athletics.

The next major improvement project begins in a couple of weeks while students are out of school for winter break. All carpeted surfaces throughout the district will be replaced. The work is expected to be wrapped up during summer break, with crews also working when school is not in session during long weekends and other breaks.

The cost is not to exceed $2,750,000. Business Services Director Mike Murray previously said the tab is expected to be in the neighborhood of $2,000,000. Extra funds were allotted because it is unknown what problems lie beneath the existing carpets. Remediation of troubled areas will drive up the cost.

Less visible projects in the first phase included technology improvements and the acquisition of three buses in the spring of 2019.

Dependence on the bond money has been reduced when possible. The district has turned to Arizona’s School Facilities Board to fund occasional building renewal and deficiency corrections. The board administers capital finance dollars funded by appropriations from the State General Fund. Examples where the funds were granted in Havasu include chillers for the high school and Smoketree Elementary.

“As the bond ages, there will be some cost shifting to the state to reduce the amount of money spent,” on capital improvements, said John Masden. He is the district’s governing board president. “The hope is to return money to the taxpayers.”

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