With the Brandon-Evansville School District referendum vote soon approaching, district residents might be wondering what the timeline is if the referendum passes. They might also be curious to know what happens if the referendum fails.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Brandon-Evansville School District residents will have two decisions to make.
The first is whether they approve a $19.9 million building bond that would provide funding to convert the existing Brandon School into a school for pre-kindergarten students through 12th graders by adding on to it and renovating the rest, along with demolishing a portion of the school in Evansville.
The second question is contingent on the first question passing, and involves a $5.3 million building bond referendum. If it is approved, the district will use the funds to construct a multi-purpose gymnasium with locker rooms and add a dedicated space for the Chargers Kid Club at the Brandon facility.
If both questions fail, B-E Superintendent Don Peschel said the district will not dissolve.
“I would not make that recommendation,” he said. “”We’ll move forward and somehow try and get creative with space. We are maxed out space-wise.”
Peschel said the district and school board would have to do a program assessment and determine what best fits the students’ needs.
“One of our biggest concerns is space,” said Peschel. “We will have to look at grade configuration again. We’ve got processes in place and will continue to move forward.”
Peschel said enrollment is increasing and that’s good, but there will be challenges with space if the referendum fails.
Since 2009, the district’s enrollment has increased by 11.8%, and projections are for enrollment to increase by 17.5% by 2028, according to Applied Insights North, a company that analyzes demographic trends.
“We have a great education program here,” Peschel said. “We have heard time and time again that we have great teachers and a great staff and we pride ourselves on that.”
If one or both referendum questions pass, Peschel said the district will take care of all the legal pieces first and then get the ball rolling on design.
A tentative plan has been in place with conceptual drawings, but the district will need to figure out the nitty-gritty details and how they work within the square-footage. Peschel anticipates a series of meetings with groups to help narrow down the details and finalize plans.
Contractors would bid on the project in spring of 2020 and construction would then start that fall, with completion projected in the summer of 2022.
During construction, students would still use the existing facilities with minimal disruptions. The construction would be phased so that the majority of work in the existing facilities would take place during the summer months. New construction would be blocked off from the existing facility, which would allow the construction process to continue throughout the school year.
More information on the B-E referendum, including tax impact, can be found at bechargersuninted.com.