Project File: Stretching construction dollars

The existing high school in the Dodge City Public Schools, Dodge City, Kan., was transformed into the Comanche Intermediate Center for 800 students. The original plan was to renovate half of the building to accommodate 450 students. However, the projected student population growth showed that the district would need to accommodate at least 600 students in 2002-2003.

This predicament, along with escalating costs, left a $2.5 million deficit in the budget. And, the district recently had a local option budget-revenue increase referendum rejected by voters.

The school board appealed to the provisions of Kansas House Bill 2603, which allows school districts to enter into lease-purchase agreements for Energy Conservation Measures, if the conservation measures reflect a payback over a 20-year period.

To obtain the necessary capital to complete the project, the district turned to the federally authorized Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. The high number of students in the district who qualified for free meals enabled the district to meet the criteria for the bonds, so approval was granted.

Many energy-conservation measures were incorporated into the project, including an energy-efficient HVAC system, optimized lighting and occupancy sensors.

Architect for the project is Gossen Livingston Associates, Inc. (Wichita, Kan.).

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