Bond 3B Updates
Groundbreaking CeremonyPosted by Carolyn Stephen on 5/16/2018
On May 15, 2018 we held a groundbreaking ceremony for Grand Mountain School. The event was a way for the district and the community to mark the beginning in the construction of the new school. This was a momentous occasion as Grand Mountain School is the first new school for the district in 22 years.
Our partners LKA Partners and Nunn Construction were present during the ceremony, along with our Board of Education, district administrators, new principal Brian Pohl, and several members of our community. It is thanks to everyone, especially our community, that this ceremony could happen for the new school.
During the ceremony there were four key speakers:
- Superintendent Scott Campbell
- Nunn Construction Tyson Nunn
- Board of Education President Charron Schoenberger
- New Principal Brian Pohl
Each speaker had inspirational words and hope for the future of Grand Mountain School. It is exciting to see the construction of the new school headway as Tyson Nunn states, "The most rewarding part of a construction project like Grand Mountain School is taking a blank site and turning it into a 21stcentury learning environment for the students of Widefield. We are grateful for our partnership with WSD-3 and look forward to building Grand Mountain on time and to the quality standards of the district."
Plans for the new school have been in talks for years as LKA Partners Andy Lewis states, "For 25 plus years I have worked on small projects with Widefield, so it is increibly gratifying to be working on a large project like this. It has been a long time coming and great to see it coming along."
The district is excited for Grand Mountain School and Charron Schaenburger recalls at the ceremony, "It's been a wild roller-coaster ride but today marks a beginning of the reality of Grand Mountain School." Along with the new school our chosen principal, Brain Pohl, is hopeful and states "What a great opportunity to be a part of this community and it is truly something special. I can't wait to get started in this work."
We thank the community for their votes to let this happen and please look forward for more updates in the future.
School Name & GroundbreakingPosted by Carolyn Stephen on 4/20/2018
New School Name
The name for the new PreK to 8th grade school has been decided and is now Grand Mountain School. We thank the Naming Committee for their work in gathering community input and following board guidelines.
A Groundbreaking Ceremony will take place for Grand Mountain School on the construction site on May 15, 2018 at 10 A.M. The ceremony will be a great way to introduce Grand Mountain School as the first school to be built in our district in 22 years. Due to limited access to the site, the district will post a video and photos of the event for everyone to see.
Bond Sale InformationPosted by Carolyn Stephen on 3/21/2018
Widefield School District 3 issued bonds approved by the voters in the November election and they were priced on January 10, 2018. These funds were then paid to WSD3 on January 24, 2018. The timing of the bond issue was based on the external factor of the recently passed tax law which created a vacuum in municipal bonds for sale in early January. The new tax law legislation changed how bonds can be refinanced in the future. This caused many firms to take bonds to market in December 2017. Our consultant, RBC Capital Markets, encouraged us to wait until the early January time frame to sell our bonds. Big name investors such as Goldman Sacs, JP Morgan Chase, State Farm Insurance, and Barclays to name a few, invested heavily in Widefield School District 3, 2018 bonds.
The other factor in the sale of the bonds, was the investors’ confidence in Widefield’s financial position that was promoted by the District’s bond rating from the Standard and Poor’s rating agency. Standard and Poor’s extensively researched the District’s financial status, operating policies, and the School Board’s practices over the past 10 years. The rating provided was an improved rating above the State’s rating which the District would not have received without the District’s excellent financial condition and practices of the District.
Due to these factors and others, Widefield School District 3 Series 2018 Bonds were sold at a premium. This is the amount investors were willing to pay above the $49.5 million to ensure their interest payments at the marketed rates. As a result, the district received $7,393,507 in additional funds. After issuance costs are deducted from the premium amount, the School Board has recommended the balance of the premium funds be put in reserve until all the projects are completed. If there are any additional funding needs for the current projects, these funds can cover the overage. At the end of those projects, the School Board will reassess District needs and prioritize projects to be completed with the remaining funds.
School Projects & New PrincipalPosted by Carolyn Stephen on 3/21/2018
In the next few months we will start some of our school bond projects. Two of the largest projects will be the high schools’ auditoriums that will begin at the end of the school year. School committees/communities are currently deciding specific projects using the $31,250 of the bond. Those projects will be turned in mid-May. Following is the list of projects that are coming soon:
- Widefield High School Auditorium: Complete Renovation
- Mesa Ridge High School Auditorium: Sound and Lighting
- Widefield Elementary: Electrical Work
- Transportation Center: Fueling Station
New School Updates
We are excited to announce we hired a principal. Brian Pohl comes to us from Ohio with 21 years of experience in education. He has worked in a variety of school districts in Ohio and Colorado, primarily as a teacher and coach. For the last eight years, Brian has worked in administration. Two of those years as an assistant principal in charge of discipline, and the last six years as a high school principal. Brian is excited for the opportunity to bring his experience to Widefield School District 3 and become a part of our community. To best describe Brian’s beliefs is by the quote from Brene Brown, “You are imperfect and wired for struggle, and you are worthy of love an belonging.”
- Updates on Construction:
- Developers are currently expanding Fontaine Road
Computer Science ProgrammingPosted by Sam Briggs on 2/5/2018
We are excited to announce the educational programming for the new preK-8 school in Lorson Ranch. The new school will be a Computer Science school with a focus on integrating technology into all major core content classes.
Bond Oversight Committee
The Bond Oversight Committee held its first meeting on January 25, 2018. Members of the Bond Oversight Committee are as follows:
- Amy Dunavin (Parent)
- David Bates (Parent)
- Jason Withycombe (Parent)
- Gail Hill (Resident)
- Michael Blair (Resident)
- Carlos Gonzalez (Resident)
- Kalie Shaw (Staff)
- Dolly Handel (Staff)
- Heather Knight (Staff)
- Josh Tutje (Staff)
- Kirk Vsetecka (Facilitator)
- Laine Babcock (Secretary)
The Naming Committee for the new prek-8 school met on January 27, 2018. The committee will be in charge of collecting input from numerous sources in order to ultimately select three names for consideration. The names will be presented to the District Advisory Accountability Committee (DAAC) before being presented to the Board of Education for final approval. Members of the Naming Committee are as follows:
- Cheri Smith (Staff)
- Christine Sgro (Staff)
- Tara Archuletta (Staff)
- Carla Borck (Staff)
- Bernadette Rayman (Parent)
- Michelle Kammerer (Parent)
- Corrina Lang (Parent)
- Liz Rosenbaum (Parent)
- Mark Laborde (Resident)
- Annie Roberd (5th grade student)
- Kaleena Lance (6th grade student)
- Cami Carmody (7th grade student)
The Boundary Committee has been selected and the first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 7, 2018. The committee will study the current district enrollment boundaries and prospective future boundaries needed as a result of the new school construction. The committee will use a collaborative input model to make boundary recommendations to the superintendent. Ultimately, the decision about boundary changes must be approved by the Board of Education. Members of the Boundary Committee are as follows:
- Melissa Ardolf (Parent)
- Kimberly Carracedo (Student)
- Alissa Coleman (Student)
- Gayla Cotner (Staff)
- Jamie Ducworth (Parent)
- Valerie Ford (Parent)
- Dave Gish (Staff)
- Jenny Kofoed (Staff)
- Corrina Lang (Parent)
- Ryan Medlin (Parent)
- Vanessa Montgomery (Student)
- Michael Quintana (Parent)
- Ursula Reese (Staff)
- Blair Reeves (Parent)
- Shirley Rudd (Parent)
- Jessica Rupp (Patron)
- Scott Sage (Staff)
- Angela Trevino (Parent)
- Rheya Vasquez (Student)
- Tracy Vsetecka (Staff)
- Tricia Wurmstein (Student)
- Asia Zanders (Parent)
- Robert Zanzig (Staff)
- Connie Florell (Facilitator)
- Dennis Neal (Facilitator)
- Sheri Watts (Secretary)
Bond Communication Specialist
We are excited to announce the hiring of our part-time, temporary Bond Communication Specialist position. Carolyn Stephen, a UCCS graduate, will be charged with internal and external communications related to the bond.
Due to Widefield School District’s enhanced bond rating, the bonds sold at a premium to many large investors such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, State Farm, UMB Bank Trust, and Wells Fargo Trust.
Construction Company HiredPosted by Sam Briggs on 1/10/2018
We have recently contracted with Nunn Construction as our CM/GC building partner for the new PreK-8 school. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Nunn Construction is an education-focused general contractor, with over 100 school facilities built in Colorado. They have worked with WSD3 for over a decade on projects including the new Transportation Facility, Sproul Junior High remodel, and the King Elementary remodel.
In February 2017, the district's Long Range Planning (LRP) committee started working with LKA Partners, a local architect firm in Colorado Springs that specializes in public education facilities. This group met six times prior to the bond election. With LKA's assistance, LRP's charge was to determine the educational program requirements and associated square footage for a new PreK-8 school. Once the type and number of spaces, and their physical sizes, were determined this information was molded into a conceptual design for a new school. Since the bond issue, LKA has been working with the LRP, various district technical committees (mechanical, electrical, technology) as well as staff and teacher user groups to refine the design and determine the buildings technical requirements.
Bond Rating & Issuance
The district met with members of the Standard and Poor's (S&P) bond rating team in December 2017 to present WSD3's case for an upgraded bond rating based on our financial history. The S&P issued an improved rating which has the potential to gain taxpayers a better interest rate on sale of the bonds. The district received this rating, which is better than the state's rating, because of strong fiscal responsibility and excellent financial practices. Bonds are scheduled to be sold on the open market in the last week of January.
New Homeowner Cost
During the election process, estimates on the average WSD3 homeowner increase in taxes was estimated to be approximately $9.25 per $100,000 of the home's value. After taking into account the change from the Gallagher amendment and including all taxes paid by the homeowner towards the school district, the increase was less than $7.00 per $100,000 of the home value for the average homeowner.
Bond Oversight Committee
The Board of Education will act on a resolution to establish the Bond Oversight Committee on January 18, 2018 at the regular board of education meeting. The committee is charged with monitoring bond projects to assure all projects are completed in concert with established priorities. This district will announce the names of the committee on January 19.
The Boundary Committee will stude current district enrollment boundaries and prospective future boundaries needed as a result of the new school construction. The committee will use a collaborative input model to make boundary recommendations to the superintendent to address the new school that will be built. Ultimately, the decision about boundary changes must be approved by the Board of Education. This committee will be comprised of parents, staff, students in 10th and 11th grades, and residents. The Boundary Committee will meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month. Applications are due on January 22, 2018 by 5 p.m. Here is a link to apply: https://tinyurl.com/wsd3boundary
School Bond Project
During the 2017 election, an amount of no less than $25,000 was allocated to each school site to be used when passed to support educational opportunities. The amount has been modified to $31,250 per site. During the next few months, each school will form a committee comprised of students, parents, and staff to determine a bond project for its' building. Project plans must be submitted by May 15, 2018. Approval for plans will be made by August 1, 2018.
3A & 3B Passed!Posted by Sam Briggs on 11/29/2017
On behalf of Widefield School District 3 and our board of education, I, Scott Campbell superintendent, would like to thank our supportive community for helping to pass 3A and 3B. It has been 16 years since we’ve asked voters for a mill levy and 22 years since we’ve asked voters for a bond. I think that spoke volumes to our fiscal responsibility in being good stewards of our taxpayers money.
We are beyond grateful to the Widefield Information Network (WIN) who volunteered their time to campaign for WSD3. Thank you to district staff who also volunteered their time to help tell our story and communicate with voters on why we needed these ballot measures to pass.
The mill levy will allow us to attract and retain high quality staff and to continue funding innovative programming. The bond will allow us to make critical repairs to current buildings and build a new pre-k through 8th grade school in Lorson Ranch.
We have a lot of work ahead of us which we embrace and are thankful to take on.
The next few months will consist of planning and organizing oversight committees and creating timelines for the new school and maintenance projects.
Our goal is to have a plan in place after the first of the year and to be as transparent as possible with our taxpayers dollars. We will keep our community informed through our websites, social media, parent emails, meetings, and the media. I encourage anyone with questions to reach out to the administration building by calling us at 391-3000 or sending us an email at email@example.com.