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Results positive for CCA

Voters approve $48 million bond issue

OXFORD– Voters in the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District approved a $48 million bond issue last Tuesday (Feb. 4) 79 percent to 21 percent. The measure, which required 60 percent to pass, allows the district to sell bonds to finance the construction of a new elementary school on the east side of Tiffin and expand the middle school, also in Tiffin. Also approved is expanding the high school and improvements to Amana Elementary.
A total of 1,237 votes were cast, with 989 yes, and 268 no votes.
“Without a doubt, the members of the CCA school board, as well as the administration, are very excited about the community support that ultimately passed the bond,” School Board of Directors President Steve Swenka said, noting educating the voters was vital to the effort. “We thought we were doing a very diligent job of educating the community about our needs. It all came down to whether we did our jobs to show them, and express to them what kind of needs we have.”
Swenka expressed his appreciation to the facilities committee, the Vote Yes committee, and everyone who worked in the planning process to ensure the support of CCA students.
However, Swenka cast a cautionary eye toward the future.
“The way the community is growing, realistically we’re looking at having to do something further in that five-to-seven year time frame. We realize that our work is not done,” Swenka said.
District Superintendent Tim Kuehl also stated his appreciation.
“I’d like to thank all of the people who worked in the planning process, those who made the effort to vote, and those who worked to ensure the passage of the bond,” Kuehl said,pleased with the margin of approval. “I’m excited by the community’s support of CCA students and the work ahead as we continue to grow.”
The district’s architectural and engineering firm, Shive-Hattery, has been busy preparing design packages. The board approved the basic design for the new elementary at their January meeting while discussion continues on some project alternates, such as a proposed weather shelter area.
“The bonds are going to take awhile to process and sell,” said Keith Johnk of Shive-Hattery. “According to Piper-Jaffrey (the district’s financial advising firm), the end of May is probably the earliest that funds from the bond referendum will be available, so we’re trying to keep the start of construction in step with this.” Johnk affirmed that the elementary will be the first project, with the solicitation for bids occurring in late March and bid acceptance in late April. Construction will start as soon as possible, and when the weather cooperates.
The middle school addition will be put out for bid around the end of May with construction work starting in June. For at least six weeks, people will see a lot of dirt sitting at the middle school site. Johnk explained poor soil at both sites would require a process known as overburdening, which involves hauling in dirt to compress the existing soil. Dirt from the elementary site will be hauled to the middle school, saving time and money on both projects.
Both facilities are expected to be ready for the 2015-2016 school year.
The next meeting of the school board of directors will be Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the middle school at 7 p.m. The meeting will begin with a public hearing regarding selling a parcel of land to the City of Tiffin, and the regular meeting will follow.