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Freeport Area school board ready to vote to borrow another $16 million |

Freeport Area school board ready to vote to borrow another $16 million

Freeport Area School Board is set to borrow an additional $16 million needed for the new middle school, building repairs and a possible new athletic complex.

The debt, first discussed in August, is broken into a $6 million, fixed-rate loan that would be obtained next month. The $10 million bond issue wouldn’t be taken out until 2015.

Both amounts need to be voted on now to comply with state law regulating how districts can borrow money. The district has plans to repay the debt in 18 years.

The board expects to vote Wednesday.

A portion of both amounts will go toward the $33 million middle school being built behind the high school on Route 356 in Buffalo Township.

The rest would be used for other projects such as roof and building repairs, particularly at the high school.

Projects there include roof replacement, a new boiler system, new windows and reconfiguration of the entrance to make it more secure.

“This is a solid school; it’s just those little things,” said school board president Dan Lucovich.

The board anticipates that some of the money for high school renovations will come from savings due to low interest rates.

Each year, the district budgets 4 percent for interest. By securing a low rate now, the district will have an annual surplus that can be invested in building renovations, Lucovich said.

Athletic complex?

Up to $3.5 million of the loan could go toward renovating existing athletic facilities or building a new athletic complex.

The district plans a public presentation for Wednesday, Nov. 12, on options the board is considering. VEBH Architects will do the presentation.

Options include renovating the existing football field in Freeport, upgrading the practice field near the high school in Buffalo Township or building a whole new athletic complex near the new junior high. A new complex would include football, lacrosse and soccer.

“We haven’t made any decision one way or another,” Lucovich said.

However, he added that the board isn’t sure it wants to invest in the field at the junior high in Freeport because the district doesn’t own it.

The district rents the field from Freeport Borough for about $15,500 a year. The borough maintains it.

“It doesn’t make sense to invest in something you don’t own,” he said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or [email protected].

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