GF voters approve refinancing plan

Friday, June 25, 2010 ~ Updated 11:10 AM

GREEN FOREST -- Voters gave overwhelming approval Tuesday to a plan to raise money for athletic improvements by refinancing existing school bonds.

By a 265 to 46 vote, a margin of 85 to 15 percent, voters in the Green Forest School District agreed to extend the repayment period of bonds from 2030 to 2037.

Because of more favorable interest rates, and because of the extended repayment period, the refinancing is expected to raise about $800,000, mostly to be used for athletic improvements.

Most of that money, an estimated $600,000, will go to the football field. Improvements at the football field will include better drainage, new bleachers, and a regulation track.

Other funds will be used on Grim Gym, or for other campus improvements.

Superintendent Jeff Williams and school board President Cheryl Howard went to the courthouse Tuesday night to see the votes counted.

Williams said with just one issue on the ballot, and with only one polling place to count, the process went quickly and smoothly.

"The polls closed at 7:30, and we had results by 8:20," he said.

Williams said he felt confident the issue would pass, but the margin surprised him.

"We've been honest with people, and we explained there was no tax increase, so I didn't think people would have a problem with it," he said.

The school board's regular monthly meeting would have been Monday night, but that meeting was postponed until Thursday, June 24, so board members would know what voters decided.

Williams said the subject would be discussed further at Thursday's meeting, although many of the major decisions were already in place, awaiting the outcome of the election.

"We already have an architect, and we already have a construction manager, so this whole thing will be expedited," Williams said.

Modus Studio of Fayetteville and CDI Construction have been working together on the almost-completed middle school project.

They will also work on the improvements to the football field. Josh Siebert, with Modus, had shown some preliminary drawings to the school board, pointing out that the stadium project will use materials similar to the adjoining new middle school.

Williams said the school board did not want to spend any more than necessary until hearing from voters, so architects have only generated sketches so far. The architects will now begin working on detailed drawings.

"It will look similar to the pictures we put out before the election," Williams said.

He explained that the actual sale of the bonds will probably take place in July or August.

Construction on the football field is expected to begin immediately after this fall's football season ends.

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