Thank you for approving Lebanon Middle School!
Proposed Middle School Project and Bond Issue
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Last updated April 3, 2014
Check out the Informational Video on the proposed new middle school.
Why did the District use a negotiated sale rather than competitive bid process?
• Negotiated sales provide greater opportunity for local investors to purchase the bonds – which means the interest paid on the bonds benefits local buyers and the local economy. For example in 2011, the District refinanced $6.59 million of bonds. Of that, local investors purchased approximately $3.7 million of those bonds. That interest stays here in Lebanon.
• Negotiated sales generally allow for shorter call features which provide savings opportunities for Districts as interest rates fluctuate. Because of short call features, the District refinanced debt and saved $693,000 in interest. The District also prepaid debt and saved another $368,000 in interest.
• Negotiated sales are a legal option in the state of Missouri. According to Missouri Association of School Administrators, 85% of Missouri schools use negotiated sale method of financing of general obligation bonds.
If approved, when will the bonds used to construct Lebanon Middle School be paid off or retired?
• The bonds will sunset in 2034. Without voter approved debt, the District cannot collect on a debt service levy. The debt service levy must sunset without approval by voters. When it comes to debt service, it's always up to a vote by the people.
How did the Board of Education approve LJ Hart & Company as the bond underwriter?
• In 2006, the Board Of Education interviewed four companies for financial consulting and underwriting services. Following the bid process, the Board entered into a contract with LJ Hart & Company.
• LJ Hart & Company has been in business since 1991. The company serves 295 of 522 school districts in the state.
• The agreement with LJ Hart & Company was most recently extended in 2013 because of the company’s performance in helping the District refinance and structure prepayments of existing debt saving taxpayers over $1 million in future interest costs. The Board also considered LJ Hart & Company’s experience as a valuable asset in planning the financial structure for the 2014 bond issue.
The questions below were posted prior to March 10, 2014.
1. What is the proposed R3-10 Middle School project?
The Middle School project is the highest priority facility project in the R3-10 master plan. It was selected by parents, community members and Lebanon R-3 staff to address the District’s “most significant” facility needs at Lebanon Junior High and Hillcrest School.
a) Why is the plan to construct a new Middle School rather than a new high school?
One proposal to address the most significant facility needs was to construct a new high school and relocate grades 6-8 to the existing high school. After considerable discussion and evaluation by parents, community members and the District it was determined that
• A new high school building would be much larger than the new Middle School.
• The District’s current bonding capacity (borrowing capacity) would not be enough to construct a new high school.
• Moving the high school to a new location would create challenges for students enrolled in classes at Lebanon Technology and Career Center and student athletes who would need to use the athletic facilities.
• The District would not be able to replicate the existing athletic facilities in a new location.
The most economical and practical solution to the District’s most significant facility needs is to construct a new middle school.
2. What is R3-10?
R3 represents the District protecting public investments through repairing, renovating or replacing resources to maximize learning for all students! 10 represents a ten year learning environment vision, updated annually.
3. What grades will be included in the Middle School project?
The middle school will include grades 6-8, currently housed at Hillcrest School and Lebanon Junior High.
4. How many students will the new school serve?
The new school will open with classroom space for 1200 students. However, the core areas, such as the cafeteria, gyms, common areas, restrooms, etc., will be built to serve 1400 students allowing for future growth and additional classrooms.
5. Where will the proposed middle school be constructed?
The proposed middle school will be constructed on 45 acres of property located on Fremont Road, between Regal and the roundabout. The property is also adjacent to the Coleman Memorial Conservation Area which will provide enrichment opportunities for all subject areas.
6. Does the District own the property?
Yes. On October 21, 2013, the District entered into a contract to purchase the property from LCR Real Estate.
a) Why not build the new Middle School on the current Junior High Campus?
According to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education standards, middle schools serving 1,000 students require approximately 40 acres. The current junior high campus is 8 acres, and Hillcrest is located on 9.7 acres. The site of the proposed middle school is 45 acres.
7. Has the District passed a bond to fund the proposed middle school?
The District is proposing a ballot initiative for voter approval on the April 8, 2014 election.
8. How much financing is the District proposing to construct the middle school?
The District is requesting voter approval of financing up to $32.5 million to construct the proposed middle school.
9. What levy will be required to facilitate financing for the proposed middle school?
The District expects a $0.37 increase to the current levy of $3.22 for a total levy of $3.59/ $100 assessed valuation.
10. Why is the proposed levy amount greater than previous estimates?
a. Interest rates are 1% higher than 2013. Even in a very favorable interest environment, this small increase in interest represents significant costs to the proposal.
b. Construction costs are trending higher than 2013 and are projected to increase prior to bidding the project.
c. Based on community input, the District increased the building capacity to support future growth in student enrollment.
d. Because student safety is a priority, the District will reinforce a gym to meet storm shelter standards. (see question 29)
11. What is the financial impact of this levy increase on district homeowners?
*The average market value for a home in Laclede County is between $60,000 and $70,000.
*To exactly compute taxes for personal property it is necessary to have the Assessed Value figures, which are available from the Laclede County Assessor’s office.
a) Examples of financial impact of levy on residential property and personal property.
Example 1: If your home has a market value of $70,000 and you own personal property (cars, boats, etc.) valued at $20,000, you would pay an additional $73.88/year or $6.16/month.
Example 2: If your home has a market value of $100,000 and you own personal property (cars, boats, etc.) valued at $30,000, you would pay an additional $107.30/year or $ 8.94/month.
Example 3: If your home has a market value of $150,000 and you own personal property (cars, boats, etc.) valued at $30,000, you would pay an additional $142.45/year or $11.87/month.
b) What if I rent my home instead of owning my home?
If you don’t own a home, but you own personal property (cars, boats, etc.) valued at $20,000 then you would pay an additional $24.67/year or $2.06/month.
12. How can the funds from the increased levy be used?
Funds approved by the voters can only be used to pay the principal and interest of the bonds issued to construct a new middle school and to the extent funding is available complete other improvements to existing District facilities. These funds cannot be used for general operating purposes including salaries, benefits, supplies, etc.
13. What is the plan for the current junior high campus?
The current junior high buildings do not provide safe and adequate space to educate approximately 647 students. However, some areas are adequate to meet other District needs. The newer sections of the junior high building will be repurposed to house district central administration offices, district professional development, district meeting rooms. Relocating central administration offices will eliminate the lease payments ($26,142 annually) for the current location which is not district owned. The cafeteria area will serve as a centralized food distribution center and food services office. Summers Auditorium, Luthy Fieldhouse gyms and the band room will continue to be used by district athletic and fine arts programs and as venues for large assemblies and events. Ideas such as an alumni center and public meeting spaces are also under consideration.
14. What is the plan for the current Hillcrest campus?
The current Hillcrest campus does not provide safe and adequate space to educate approximately 320 sixth grade students. However, the newer wing of the building will provide greatly improved instructional space for the students currently enrolled in the Alternative Center including: increased space, more classrooms, improved technology infrastructure, healthier environment, area for food preparation and dining, and inside and outside areas for physical education and recreation. Areas of the building not suitable for educational purposes might also be used for the HRDC shop, the print shop, and for District centralized storage. Relocating the Alternative Center to the Hillcrest campus will eliminate lease payments ($14,500 annually) for the current Alternative Center building which is not district owned.
15. How many students are currently enrolled in grades K-8?
16. What are the benefits of a 6-8 middle school model?
Middle schools are student-centered and are typically organized in academic teams designed to support the unique learning and behavior needs of preadolescent students. Middle schools provide a safe and challenging environment for students to explore academic interests and future careers.
17. Will the new middle school change current instructional models?
The new school will be a middle school. Sixth-eighth grade educators, parents and community members will research middle school models, make recommendations, develop a vision and begin the process of implementing the instructional model. It will include aspects of both elementary and secondary models to provide students with a nurturing, yet challenging environment for exploration and learning.
18. Are employees located in the current facilities going to lose their positions or jobs?
No jobs will be eliminated as a result of the proposed middle school project because the District will continue to serve approximately the same number of students. Roles and job descriptions may be adjusted to fit the needs of the new middle school.
19. Has the District hired an architectural firm to assist in the design and development of the new middle school?
The District contracted with SAPP Design and Associates in 2012.
20. Will the faculty, staff and public be involved in the design and development of the middle school?
The District will conduct faculty and staff meetings to gather critical input to the design of the middle school. The District will provide opportunities for the public to provide input to the design process.
21. Will the new middle school have modern security?
The District is committed to student safety and the new building design will incorporate modern security measures.
22. Will the middle school have three wings as suggested by the current drawings?
The design is not finalized but is a good representation of size and how the facility could utilize the available property. Various designs and models are being considered and will be finalized after gathering more input from our faculty, staff, parents and the community.
23. Will the new middle school be one level or multi-level?
In the current plan, the new middle school will be a one level structure.
24. What accommodations have been considered for those with physical handicaps to enable them to be more independent at school?
The entire facility will meet ADA requirements for individuals with disabilities.
25. Will the new middle school have modern and adequate technology?
Technology in the classroom is integral to our student’s success and modern technology will be incorporated in the design process.
26. How many gyms will the new middle school have?
The new middle school gyms will be very similar to the gyms in the Junior High Luthy Fieldhouse with a main competition gym that seats 1400 and a separate auxiliary gym. The campus will also feature a full size weight training room.
27. Will the middle school have a competition track and/or athletic fields?
The campus will include practice areas for track, football and soccer and physical education classes.
28. Will the new middle school have a performing arts theater?
No. Due to funding constraints, the District will continue to utilize the Summers Theater located at the existing Junior High campus or the theater located at the Cowan Civic Center. The middle school will include a stage in the cafeteria/commons area.
29. Will the new middle school include a storm shelter/safe room?
The District believes our students, staff and citizens would be better served if funding can be procured to construct a storm shelter on the proposed campus. The District has applied for FEMA funding for a storm shelter to be located at the middle school. If FEMA funding is not received, the Board has committed to reinforcing a gym to meet storm shelter standards using bond proceeds.
30. Is the District planning a “showcase” building like some recently constructed in our area?
No. The design of the school will be functional and practical to provide safe and adequate space to meet the educational needs of sixth-eighth grade students. The school will include classrooms that will support student centered technology, science labs, and introduction to engineering.
31. What will the new middle school be named?
On January 14, 2014 the Board approved Lebanon Middle School as the name for the new 6-8 grade school.
32. Will the middle school site be large enough for future enrollment growth?
The current site of 45 acres is large enough for necessary future expansions of the middle school.
33. What happens to the property if the bond issue does not pass?
If the bond issue is not approved within three years, the property will be sold back to LCR Real Estate for the original purchase price.
34. Are there any environmental issues or concerns with the property?
Terracon provided a phase I environmental assessment that is satisfactory to the District.
35. Is there a safety concern with the airport location and proximity to the proposed middle school?
Student safety is always our top priority. The new middle school will be located approximately one-half mile west of the runway. The building will not be located in or near the flight path of aircraft landing or taking off from the airport. The east-west runway is no longer in service.
35.1 It looks like there’s a runway behind the proposed middle school. Is this safe?
The runway that is visible in the Middle School pictures is an old runway that is officially de-commissioned from service as a runway. District officials have confirmed with the City of Lebanon and with MoDOT -Aviation Division that the former runway 09/27 was de-commissioned from service as a runway. Here is an excerpt from the written confirmation: “The former runway 09/27 has been de-commissioned from service as a runway. The Airport Layout Plan for the airport shows the runway as closed with “x” marks placed on the ends, as is appropriate. However, it also indicates the pavement is to remain for future use as a taxiway to future hangar development, which would also be acceptable. The status of runways can also be verified publicly on the “5010web” website. This website is maintained by a contractor for the FAA, and utilizes information from inspections and other sources. By going to the website http://www.gcr1.com/5010web/ and searching by location identifier “LBO”, under the “Runway Information” tab at the top, you can see that the only runway currently commissioned at the airport is Runway 18/36. Other publications, such as the FAA’s Airport Facility Directory and MoDOT’s airport directory also make no reference to a runway 09/27 at LBO.”
35.2 What happens if the airport expands and the City closes Fremont Road?
The airport expansion project has been a topic of significant community debate for nearly a decade. In the event the airport expansion project is someday approved by the community, MoDOT and the FAA, the presence of the school - in addition to the existing Christian Health Care North facility and Regal Beloit - would factor heavily in the consideration of rerouting or other alternatives to accommodate the traffic on Fremont Road.
36. How will the new middle school affect traffic flow?
The property has several positive transportation opportunities. The property will be accessed by Fremont Road and a new road to be constructed from the roundabout to the middle school construction. These roads can be accessed from Elm Street, Evergreen Parkway, Highway 5 south and Ostrich Drive.
37. Does the District have sufficient bonding capacity to finance future projects if necessary?
The District will have additional bonding capacity for future projects.
38. How long will it take to complete the project if passed by the voters?
The District expects the design and construction process to take approximately 2.5 years with the first classes attending the middle school in August 2016.
39. How does the Lebanon R-III tax levy compare to similar districts from southwest Missouri?
Older Facility Planning News
October 2013: During the October 21 special session, the Lebanon School Board members entered into an agreement to purchase land for the construction of the proposed sixth-eighth grade middle school.
Board members voted to approve a contract between the Lebanon R-3 School District and LCR Real Estate, Inc. to purchase 45 acres off Fremont Road near the roundabout as the site for a proposed sixth-eighth grade middle school. Under the terms of the contract, the District will pay LCR Real Estate, Inc. $342,500 cash and transfer title to the property on 321 South Jefferson valued at $400,000.
The purchase agreement is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of an environmental study.
This contract is the result of an exhaustive review of more than 21 possible sites for the proposed middle school, and the Fremont property best met the criteria of adequate acreage, developed road access, location, and price.
The review recommended the Fremont property as an excellent location for the proposed middle school. The terrain is well suited for the construction of a school that will meet the educational needs of sixth-eighth grade students. The property is positioned near developed roads with excellent access to several neighborhoods that are heavily populated with Lebanon R-3 students.
Lebanon Superintendent Duane Widhalm expressed the District's appreciation to the Lowe family for making the property available. "The Lowe family has deep roots in our community and our schools. Their decision to sell this property to the District makes it possible to move forward with the R3-10 plan to build a new middle school on new land...and greatly improve the learning environment for our sixth-eighth grade students."
December 2012: a presentation regarding the facility master plan process is here.
November 2012: a presentation regarding survey results and bond issue options is here.
Results from the September 2012 focus groups are here and the focus group presentation slides are here (this file is 15MB).
The timeline and method is detailed in the Facilities Appraisal Process.
Building appraisals and accompanying photo albums are below (the files can be very large in size):
Sr. High (Photo Album)
LTCC (Photo Album)
Jr. High (Photo Album)
Hillcrest (Photo Album)
Boswell (Photo Album)
Maplecrest (Photo Album)
Esther (Photo Album)