Capital Projects Update
In Washington State, by law, the Capital Projects fund for a school district is separate from the General fund. Capital Projects funds can be spent only on capital projects. Capital Projects funds cannot be used for general school operations. Capital Projects funds are generated from a voter-approved bond issue, a capital projects levy, state matching funds, or a transfer of funds from the General fund.
The community of West Valley approved a bond in 2019 to construct Apple Valley and Summitview elementary schools. Due to favorable bids for the construction as well an expedited construction schedule, there were bond funds and state matching funds remaining in the Capital Projects fund after the construction was completed.
On Tuesday, June 27, 2023, the West Valley Board of Directors approved a resolution which will allow the District to move forward with several capital projects funded by the remaining bond funds and state matching funds.
The vote was the culmination of a year of deliberations, discussion, and community input regarding this issue.
In July 2022, the School Board heard a presentation regarding the process for defeasance which is how remaining funds can be used to decrease property taxes. Community forums were held during the school year to get input from the community. Community members provided a wide variety of comments and suggestions. Some community members said that all of the funds should be used for defeasance. Others said that some of the funds should be used for capital projects and some of the funds should be used for defeasance. Others said that all of the funds should be used for capital projects.
Community members had many suggestions for capital projects that should be considered. As the School Board listened to input and discussed information about priorities, Board members clarified that the focus for the resolution should be student health and safety as well as consideration for future growth (property acquisition).
Community forums were held on the following dates:
- Tues, October 4, 2022 at the West Valley Fire Station
- Tues, October 18, 2022 at the Harman Center
- Mon, March 20, 2023 at the HS Auditorium
The resolution identified the following:
- make various capital improvements throughout existing schools and facilities
- acquire land as sites for new and expanded facilities
- legally defease a portion of the District's outstanding funds
A public hearing on the resolution was held on the following date:
- Tues, June 20, 2023 at the HS Library
On June 27, 2023, the resolution was approved at the School Board meeting. The vote was 3-2. Board members Mike Meyer, Dave Jaeger, and Mark Strong voted to pass the resolution. Mark Mochel and Michael Thorner voted no. With this vote, the District will move forward with capital projects that were identified in the resolution.
The District will keep the community informed about progress on the various projects by maintaining a regularly updated status report dashboard that will be located under the “Facilities” section of the District website.
Capital projects identified in the resolution include the following:
Chiller upgrade and boiler upgrade at Cottonwood and Wide Hollow – Current units will be upgraded to provide energy savings with improved performance. This will provide a healthy learning environment for students and staff at each school.
Well upgrade at Mountainview – The upgrade will provide consistency of water source for the school.
Parking Lot Expansion at Mountainview – Parking lot expansion will provide more room for student drop-off before school and student pick-up after school.
Roof repair/replacement/upgrade at Wide Hollow, Cottonwood, and Mountainview – These projects will minimize the potential for leaky water damage to the schools.
Domestic Water Piping Replacement at Junior High – Eroding pipes will be replaced.
Auditorium Storage, Seating, and ADA Upgrades at Junior High – For the safety of students, staff, and community members who perform and attend events at the Junior High auditorium, upgrades will be made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Gym Bleachers Replacement at Junior High –Due to safety considerations, the bleachers in the junior high gym will be replaced.
Chiller upgrade at Junior High – Upgrades will provide energy savings with improved performance.
Field, Bleachers, Press Box, and Track at High School – Current conditions of the track and field are marginal. Facilities will be upgraded for student safety.
Single Use Restrooms at High School, Junior High, and Middle School – Community input requested a remodel of bathrooms at the schools to provide students with greater privacy.
Property Acquisition – With increased growth in West Valley, the Board of Directors identified property acquisition as a priority. Increase growth results in less property available in the future that can be utilized for District use.