So far, so good.
After four years of planning, budgeting and financing eight-figure sums, phase I of the Master Facilities Plan is on schedule and is set for construction this fall, said.
During its regular meeting, the reviewed the latest monthly budget update, in which treasurer Mark Pepera showed how the district’s money is going to fund the $84 million school reconstruction project. Westlake voters passed a 3.4-mill bond issue in May.
Under phase I, will extensively renovate , transform into an intermediate school for grades 5-6 and build a new middle school for grades 7-8. The buildings should be open by 2014, Pepera said.
Pepera projects that the school construction designs and budget will be finalized by late spring, but until then, officials will continue to work out the major and minor details that are still on the table.
“Our (phase I) budget is so conceptual; it’s based on square footage and estimates. ... Until the bids come in, it’ll be conceptual,” Keenan said. “There will be some shifts and changes, so we need to be extra communicative with our staff and board in the weeks and months ahead.”
Keenan stressed that transparency is a must, and he noted that every change will be made available to the board and to the public when construction commences.
Overall, Pepera said the long planning process has gone relatively smoothly, particularly because it’s one of the lowest-financed projects in the history of the state.
“The total financing, inclusive of all fees, for the $84 million project was accomplished at an unprecedented low interest rate of 3.34 percent,” he said. "The low rate was made possible in part to available stimulus funding, but can also be attributed to the high creditworthiness of the district as evidenced by its recent bond rating from Moody's and S&P."