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Bond - Questions & Answers

February 10, 2015 Bond – Bond Questions & Answers

New answers to questions asked/comments made will be placed at the end of this web page.

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1. How can I ask a question about the bond or plans?
You can ask a question on the * 2015 Levy and Bond Information* website pages here. Or, levy and bond questions, comments and suggestions may be sent via email to:  info@portangelesschools.org,  or by U.S. Mail to:  Superintendent, Port Angeles School District, 216 East Fourth Street, Port Angeles, WA  98362.
2. What is the proposed cost to replace Port Angeles High School?
Local funding of the bond - $98,254,000 - would result in a property owner’s estimated property tax rate increase over today’s rates by $1.60 per $1,000 assessed value for 25 years based on 2014 values.
12/2/2014 addition: The Jefferson and Dry Creek bonds will mature and be paid off in December 2015, right when the new bond would take effect.  Currently, this amount is 46 cents estimated per $1,000 of assessed value.  With a new bond for the high school, it’s estimated this amount would increase by $1.60 per $1,000 assessed property value.  Therefore, the total estimated Port Angeles High School bond cost, 46 cents + $1.60, would be $2.06 per $1,000 assessed property value.
The Capital Facilities Committee considered an estimate of approximately $120 million which would have included new Gym space, but in its final analysis, over $20 million was eliminated by keeping the existing gym space as is for now. (Costs to renovate the Gym area was estimated as $19.1 million; building a new Gym space would cost $21.2 million.)
3. What does this mean for the average home owner?
To calculate your projected/estimated annual tax increase for the bond, divide your assessed property value by 1,000 and multiply by $1.60.  For example, a homeowner with a home valued at $172,250 (median sold price from zillow.com), the projected/estimated increase would be $275.60 annually or $22.97 monthly.
4. How much would it cost to remodel Port Angeles High School?
It would cost approximately 85% to 90% of the cost for a full replacement of Port Angeles High School, but this amount could be more or less depending on what is discovered during a renovation, including asbestos abatement costs for the project.  Code and seismic upgrades are large issues, as the structures have to be brought current if more than 60% of their value is spent on a remodel. 
5. What was the date of construction or last substantial renovation for each of the buildings proposed to be replaced at Port Angeles High School?
The 100, 200, 300, 500 and 700 buildings were all built in 1953 with modernizations in 1958 and 1978. The 400 building, which houses the library and counseling offices, and auditorium were built in 1958 and modernized in 1978. The 600 building was built in 1960 and modernized in 1978. The 800 and 900 buildings were built new in 1978. Several temporary portables were put onsite in early 1990s, which are still in use.  Map
6. What is the status rating (0 to 100 scale) of the buildings at Port Angeles High School?
The State of Washington pays for a study and survey of the buildings every six years. The School District will be eligible to apply for funding for this in 2015, as the State compensated us first and last in 2009. 
The ratings (0 to 100 scale) for the PAHS buildings from a 2008 study and survey were:
100 building = 46.8, 200 building = 46.2, 300 building = 50.5, 400 building = 49.5, 500 building = 25.5, 600 building = 38.8, 700 building = 45.7, 800 building = 56.4, 900 building = 56.4 and Auditorium (1000 building) = 45.2. These ratings were first presented to the public at a community forum February 21, 2008, so they are 6+ years old.
7. What is the current square footage of existing and proposed new Port Angeles High School buildings? If more, why?
Space is approximately 222,000 square feet for existing buildings, including the Gym spaces. This does not include the area of the temporary portable classroom buildings that are currently used. Up to 237,000 square footage is proposed for the new buildings.  This would keep all existing programs at current size, provide permanent space for those programs currently in portables, provide larger commons space, and tie the campus together under “one roof.” Extra square footage accounts for added hallways, passing areas and collaboration space.  Larger bathrooms in the Performing Arts Center are also envisioned in the conceptual plan. 
8. What is the approximate building square footage per student at Port Angeles High School?
PAHS today: approximately 195 square feet/student assuming 1200 students. 
PAHS after proposed new construction:  approximately 197.5 square feet/student. 
Program Area is 237,000 square feet; current is 222,000 square feet.  This would keep all existing programs at current size, provide larger commons space, and tie the campus together under “one roof.” Extra square footage accounts for added hallways, passing areas and collaboration space.
9. Why are we having two issues on the February 10, 2015 ballot?
Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Levy and a Capital Construction Bond:  The M&O Levy is a replacement levy, NOT a new tax. It’s a renewal of the approximately 20% of our operating expenses funded with local dollars.  The bond is, of course, for the $98.2 million reconstruction cost of the high school. 
Bond money and levy money serve two very different purposes.  Bond money must be used to build or replace school buildings and major equipment. The School District cannot use bond funds for daily operations. Maintenance and operation levies help pay for the annual cost of running our schools. Washington State school districts depend on maintenance and operation levies for operating revenue.  State and federal funds only provide a portion of our funding needs. Currently, levy monies account for 20.5% of the School District budget.
10. Will the School District be eligible for “matching” funds from the State?
The School District may be eligible for about $18 million in state assistance funds for construction and related project development costs related for the high school bond project.  This figure is based on Port Angeles High School’s eligibility of 155,000 square feet for new construction. This amount is not guaranteed, plus it is not available to spend during the building of the high school.  It would be paid out at end of project.
11. If state assistance funds do become available, how will theses fund be used?  Will the public have a say in how the funds will be spent?
Per Resolution No. 1415-07: “The State Financing Assistance shall be used, when and in such amounts as it may become available, to carry out and accomplish the Projects. If the State Financing Assistance is more than sufficient to carry out and accomplish the Projects (the “Excess State Financing Assistance”), and state or local circumstances require, the District may use the Excess State Financing Assistance to: (a) acquire, construct, install, equip and make other capital improvements to the District’s facilities; (b) retire and/or defease a portion of the Bonds or other outstanding bonds of the District; or (c) provide for other purposes, all as the Board may determine by resolution, after holding a public hearing thereon pursuant to RCW 28A.530.020.”
12. If the High School Bond is approved and Washington States Lottery kicks in several million dollars for the building of the school, will you deduct that amount from the total of the bond thus making our property tax statement lower?
Any early pay off decisions for the bond would be made by the School Board.  Directors said publically at a recent Board meeting they would hold a public forum to seek input regarding extra funds and where they would be distributed.  An earlier payoff will be considered. 
13. Are there any expected annual savings from reduced maintenance and utility costs if the proposed new construction program is implemented?
Maintenance costs will decrease dramatically with newer and updated facilities. The school’s systems (heat, ventilation, electric) cost more each year to maintain.  A new, energy efficient school can significantly reduce operational costs especially over time.
The high school buildings will be built to current codes and have the advantage of increased efficiency and safety products, i.e., windows, heating, cooling, not available in the current structure.  Director of Maintenance and Facilities Nolan Duce has said staff did notice a small decrease in the utility costs for Dry Creek and Jefferson when first built, however, the School District is now mechanically cooling the classrooms when needed, and with that method also comes a cost. We can safely assume that the new building will be much more energy efficient than the current school.
14. What about the Jefferson and Dry Creek Elementary Schools’ bonds?  Are they paid off yet?
The Jefferson and Dry Creek bonds will mature and be paid off in December 2015, right when the new bond would take effect.  Currently, this amount is 46 cents estimated per $1,000 of assessed value.  With a new bond for the high school, it’s estimated this amount would increase by $1.60 per $1,000 assessed property value.  12/2/2014 addition: Therefore, the total estimated Port Angeles High School bond cost, 46 cents + $1.60, would be $2.06 per $1,000 assessed property value.
15. Did community members and PASD staff have input to the conceptual design?
The Capital Facilities Committee and McGranahan Architects representatives (the firm the Board of Directors selected for pre-bond planning services) have spent months gathering community feedback, holding open houses, and working with design concepts during forums and workshops with students, high school staff and the community.
16. Is this plan set in stone?  I noticed not all Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings are represented. 
No, this plan is conceptual only.  Once a bond for the high school passes, the formal design process will begin. Input will be taken from individual teachers, staff and community members about what is important for classrooms and collaborative space.  Regarding Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, the Capital Facilities Committee repeatedly received feedback about keeping the size of this program in tact with all present programs continuing in same size spaces. This is evidenced in the Board’s agreement with the recommendation put forth by the Capital Facilities Committee.  The added labels on the conceptual design were for simplicity in presentation for the general public to see how a new high school might look and flow.
17. Will the front of the building have all that glass? (I saw the picture in the PDN and am concerned with utilities costs and safety considerations.)
Not necessarily, the design shown is conceptual only.  Once a bond for the high school passes, the formal design process will begin. Planning for the future, including utilities costs and safety, is very important, and will be taken in to consideration for planning of all the new buildings on campus.
18. Does the conceptual design allow for more space, less space or the same?
The current school is 222,000 square feet. The proposed scope for the new program area is 237,000 square feet and keeps all existing programs at current size.
Emphasizing that plans are conceptual only and input from staff regarding learning space will be essential, the plan provides a larger commons area and ties the campus together with interior circulation, accounting for additional allowable square footage. 
All buildings except the Auditorium and Gym would be replaced under the plan.  The existing Auditorium will be renovated and there will be no work on the Gymnasium Building.  Additionally, no significant work will be done on the existing football field and track as funds have recently improved these areas. All other areas of the site will be renovated.
19. Can I host an informational meeting in my neighborhood or with friends so we may learn about the levy and bond?
Yes. District representatives are available to share information about the February 10, 2015 bond and levy with your community organization, neighbors and friends.  Please contact Communications and Community Relations Coordinator Tina Smith-O’Hara by phone (360.565.3703) or email to schedule a presentation.
20. Why did the Capital Facilities Committee leave out the rebuilding of a new gym?  I thought the Gym was originally included in the proposal.
You are right.  There was a lot of discussion between Capital Facilities Committee members about keeping the Gym space within the conceptual plan.
It is important to note that the original cost estimates for a new high school ranged as high as $121 million, which would have included replacing the PAHS Gyms. However, the Committee felt strongly that the burden to taxpayers should be respected and minimized, and that tackling the entire project would use too much of the School District’s limited bonding capacity. That capacity should be kept available if an urgent need arises at another school. While it makes sense to rebuild the Gyms now - funding will never cost less and buildings will only cost more in the future - it was more important to the Committee to be sensitive to other needs and to what the community is willing to support.
21. What is PACE?
PACE is the acronym for Port Angeles Citizens for Education.  It’s a group of “volunteers dedicated to supporting our students, their schools and staff for a better future.”  As a School District, our staff cannot advocate for passage of a levy or bond on “work time,” however, we can join PACE in its work for passage of the levy or bond during non-work hours.  PACE membership is currently working on passage of the February 10, 2015 maintenance and operations levy and bond for building of a new high school.
22. Will the tennis courts stay in the same place?
The conceptual plans show the tennis courts located off Park Avenue in one of the current parking lots - not where they are located now.  It’s important to note the plans drawn up by McGranahan Architects are conceptual only. 
23. Where will the Performing Arts Center/Auditorium be located?
The Performing Arts Center/Auditorium would stay where it is presently located.  The PAHS buildings, commons, admin building, classrooms would “surround” the Auditorium with classrooms extending east. It provides the “center” for the school and would be upgraded to code, more bathrooms provided, accessibility updated.  Remember the plan is conceptual at this time.
24. How will the Performing Arts Center/Auditorium be updated?
The existing auditorium is very large for a high school facility and the interior of the building is shaped very well acoustically for a performance space.  However, the supporting spaces around the auditorium do not function as well.  That is why the Capital Facilities Committee recommended retaining the auditorium and replacing all of the related supporting facilities.  The auditorium will receive new heating, ventilation, lighting, and sound systems; seating will be modified to address ADA accessibility issues; acoustical treatments will be added to improve sound quality; the building will be seismically retrofitted to meet current code, fire sprinklers will be added, and fire alarms will be brought up to code; and all of the interior finishes will be replaced.  The stage and dressing rooms will be replaced.  The lobby and public restrooms will also be replaced with facilities that are appropriately sized for the size of the auditorium and ADA accessible.
25. Does it cost more to build a new high school on the Olympic Peninsula?
Yes. It will cost more for a project of this magnitude due to availability of resources, materials and labor.  McGranahan Architects, the pre-bond consultants, estimated an a 3.5% add-on for costs due to our remote location.
26. Will local contractors and workers be hired for the project?
We hope so.  Construction of a new high school will likely be a stimulus to our local economy, bringing with it the potential for increased jobs and increased spending in our community.
27. Why is this a good time for this bond?
The timing is good for a bond election for several reasons:
Dry Creek and Jefferson Elementary bonds will be paid off in December 2015, and this bond will follow directly behind with the least impact on taxpayers. 
Current low interest rates on bond sales and competitive bidding for commercial projects indicate this is the right time to ask our community for funding. 
Construction costs are projected to increase at 4% per year over the next several years, so securing a firm bid as soon as possible will protect against paying more in the future. 
Although our maintenance and custodian staff have done excellent work in keeping our buildings student-ready, Port Angeles High School’s aged facilities are no longer adequate to prepare our students for their future. We are preparing and educating our children for the 21st Century. Business and industry need workers skilled in science, career tech education fields, engineering and mathematics. Our current facilities have reached the limit for keeping up with technological advancements in teaching and learning.
Maintenance costs will decrease dramatically with newer and updated facilities. The school’s systems (heat, ventilation, electric) cost more each year to maintain.  A new, energy efficient school can significantly reduce operational costs especially over time.
Construction of a new high school will likely be a stimulus to our local economy, bringing with it the potential for increased jobs and increased spending in our community.
28. I’ve heard enrollment has dropped over the last dozen years: Can we save money by building a smaller high school since we have less students?
Enrollment has stabilized over the last few years and the Capital Facilities Committee, and subsequently the School Board, recommended the new school be built for the existing enrollment rather than for more. The new school will be designed with the potential for expansion in mind should a future need arise.
29. When was the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center built?
The Performing Arts Center was opened to the public for the first time on Friday, May 1, 1959 when the Rosenheim Exchange Student Association presented a variety talent show program.   The Auditorium, acoustically designed by the then nationally known architect firm of Bolt, Beranek and Newman, was recognized for its high quality hearing condition which was largely obtained from the shape of the building and the covering of the seats with cloth fabric to eliminate the bouncing of sound off the wood backs of seats.  The “School Board News from May 1959 reported, “The seat rows are widely spaced to provide an unobstructed view of the stage from every seat in the room and for maximum comfort.  The wider seat row made it possible to eliminate the normal center aisle and thus use that desirable area for seats.”
30. What was the process to decide to build a new high school?
Previous facilities task force work in 2009 and demographics studies from 2008, plus an updated School District Strategic Plan, led the Board of Directors to appoint a Long-Range Facilities Task Force in January 2013 charged with long-range planning for the Port Angeles School District’s facilities, technology services, and educational support functions.
The Task Force, consisting of 65+ participants from our schools and community, evaluated economic and demographic projections representing the anticipated enrollment capacity needed over the next five, ten and twenty years and the current physical condition and technological value of all school district properties.
The Task Force recommended in December 2013 the Board of Directors move forward with asking the voters in the Port Angeles School District to pass a bond up to the District’s bonding capacity to build a new high school.
A second recommendation made later in June 2014 by the Task Force recommended the potential opportunity to improve our instructional model through grade reconfiguration to one 9-12 high school, one 6-8 middle school and fewer PreK-5 elementary schools as timely.
McGranahan Architects representatives began meeting with a 15-member Capital Facilities Committee.  They have spent months providing input, gathering feedback from staff, students and community, holding open forums, and working with design concepts prior to making a recommendation to the Board of Directors on the parameters for building a new high school.
31. How many votes does the bond need to pass?
Bonds still require a supermajority (60%+1 votes) to pass and meet validation requirements.  To validate, 40% of the total number who voted in November 2014 must vote in the February 2015 election.  (Levies require a simple majority (50%+1 votes) to pass and meet validation requirements.)
32. The PDN used the figures between $80-$100 million in several of its articles about the high school bond – where did this figure come from?
The writer received this information from an earlier source, pre-Long-Range Facilities Task Force.  The number may have been based on a construction cost vs total project cost.  Our current cost model reflects a cost of $98,254,000 - what the District will pay the contractor (hard costs), plus related project development costs (soft costs). 
33. Does the entire auditorium need to be remodeled? Not sure the public will support this…
The existing auditorium does not meet current seismic, fire, ADA, energy, ventilation and other life safety codes. If a portion of the facility is improved beyond a cosmetic facelift the entire facility will need to be brought up to code.  If the new high school were designed such that it was not connected to the existing auditorium it may be possible to avoid making any improvements to the auditorium.  However, the systems and finishes in that building have reached the end of their useful life and are ready for renovation.   
34. What about Franklin’s and Hamilton’s failing structures? Why is my student’s school not being rebuilt?
Every school needs renovating or a rebuild, but all our schools are safe.  Every school is part of the capital facilities plan.  The bond focus is on the high school now because it not only needs to be rebuilt, it is very likely that almost all of our students will attend the high school eventually.  The Long-Range Facilities Task Force and the Capital Facilities Committee felt, and the Board of Directors agreed, that students should not have to go through a construction zone their entire educational career.  If we start construction with the elementary school level, this situation might occur. 
35. What projects are included in the high school bond?
All buildings except the Auditorium and Gym would be replaced. The existing Auditorium would be renovated, but there would be no work on the Gymnasium building. There would be no significant work on existing Track & Field space.
36. What’s the timeline from completion for the high school bond?
Once the high school bond passes, an architecture firm will be contracted and the design work will begin.  Construction starts late fall of 2016; buildings completed fall of 2019.
37. What’s in it for me?  I don’t have any children in Port Angeles School District schools.
The high school is a community resource.  When school is not in session, community organizations and members are using our facilities, our gyms and the Performing Arts Center.  Good schools reflect good communities, and the bond will improve learning conditions for years into the future for our children.  Some might say it’s our responsibility to provide for the education of our young people.
38. When will the tennis courts be replaced? 
The plan at this time is to put them across the street; remember, the plan is only conceptual at this time.
39. Will the tennis teams be negatively affected? 
Possibly.  We are presently uncertain what phase of construction the tennis courts would be built. This hasn’t been discussed fully, but tennis teams might be impacted for a while unless construction is entirely during summer. Plans will be made to have limited disruption to student program.
40. How will technology within education be affected by the new school?  What will change? 
Technology is less and less a subject that is taught in today’s schools and it is more and more an integral part of how all subjects are taught.  Technology, and the access to technology, will be integrated into all areas of the new design.  Students and teachers will have access to technology in whatever learning environment they may find themselves in throughout the school.  Key to success will be flexibility in the building infrastructure to allow it to change and adapt in response to the rapidly evolving world of technology.    
We are planning for the future and its fullest capacity without knowing all learning disciplines.  From responses received from surveys, community forums, staff and student feedback and Committee input, the top responses for “Immediate Need” were:  Infrastructure, Technology and Energy Efficiency. Planning for technology in our future facilities will definitely be considered as design plans are developed.
41. How many stories will the building be? 
The input from the community forums indicated a strong desire to connect the school in a more compact, single facility, as opposed to the current spread out collection of freestanding buildings.  The new school also has to be constructed in a manner that will allow the current school to remain in operation until the new one is open for students.  In response to those two considerations the pre-bond conceptual plan includes two story classroom wings, which reduces the overall footprint of the school.  The benefits of being multistoried or single story will be evaluated more fully during the design process, after the bond has been passed by the community.
42. An area that needs to be taken into consideration is Air Conditioning. That building gets very hot in the summer months when many of the performances take place.
Due to the conceptual design of the new high school, we will be required by code to renovate the Performing Arts Center.
The PAC will receive new heating, ventilation, lighting, and sound systems; seating will be modified to address ADA accessibility issues; acoustical treatments will be added to improve sound quality; the building will be seismically retrofitted to meet current code; fire sprinklers will be added; and fire alarms will be brought up to code; and all of the interior finishes will be replaced. The stage and dressing rooms will be replaced. The lobby and public restrooms will also be replaced with facilities that are appropriately sized for the size of the auditorium and ADA accessible.
We will seriously consider a ground loop system which would greatly reduce costs of a new air conditioning system.
43. Where will the Auditorium be on campus?
The Auditorium would stay where it is presently located. In fact, the PAHS buildings, commons, admin building, classrooms would “surround” the Auditorium. It really would provide the base, in my mind, for the whole school and would be upgraded to code, more bathrooms provided, and accessibility updated, stage redone. This is all conceptual at this point.
44.Why are two stories and not one story considered for the new high school?  It's not energy efficient.
Energy efficiency, while very important, is only one of many, many variables that we need to address in designing the new school.  Programmatic adjacencies, travel time between classes, phasing and working around the existing school are a few other considerations that moved us in the direction of a two story school.
That having been said, a two story school will be more energy efficient than a one story if you assume all systems are equal and the only variable you are comparing is the configuration.
The major energy use in a school comes from lighting, power for equipment and technology, and heating and cooling.  With proper solar orientation and classroom proportions we can effectively use natural light in a two story configuration to reduce the need for electric lights equally effectively as we can in a single story. So lighting is neutral.  The power demand for technology and equipment has to do with the activities in the building and would be the same in a one or two story facility.  So power is also neutral.  Heating and cooling however are significantly impacted by the exterior envelop of the building.  The less area of exterior wall and roof we have the better the envelop will perform.  If we assume first and second floor classrooms are the same height the exterior walls are the same with either approach, but by stacking the classrooms we can fit twice as much floor area under the same roof area, thereby significantly reducing our energy envelope.  We'll have less energy loss and use less energy to replace the loss.
We also take into account that the Port Angeles climate is heat dominated, as opposed to say Texas where cooling is much more of a concern.  We use a lot more energy heating than we do cooling.  In fact, many districts do not provide cooling for the schools except for key areas, like assembly spaces, computer rooms, and offices.  If we are trying to reduce heat demand we can take advantage of the fact that heat naturally rises in a two story configuration.
Energy performance is influenced by a lot of other variables so it is hard to make a blanket statement that one approach will perform significantly better than another without designing both.  But as a general rule two story is more energy efficient.
45. I just read the fall newsletter that arrived in the mail. It mentions that bonds for the construction of Dry Creek and Jefferson Elementary Schools will be paid off in December 2015.  Apparently, this is about when payments would start for the new H.S. bond. If the new bonds will cost me $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed value, can you tell me my net increase?  That is, how much will my tax rate go down because of the expiration of the elementary school bonds?
You are correct - The Jefferson and Dry Creek bonds will mature and be paid off in December 2015, right when the new Port Angeles High School bond would take effect.  Currently, this amount (Dry Creek and Jefferson bonds) is 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. 
With a new bond for the high school, it’s estimated this amount would increase by $1.60 per $1,000 assessed property value. (The PAHS bond estimate would be the total of the two - $1.60 + 46 cents = $2.06 per $1,000 of assessed value.)
In other words, the PAHS bond is $1.60 plus the amount you're now paying for Dry Creek and Jefferson, an increase of $1.60 - so 46 cents plus $1.60 = $2.06 per $1,000 of assessed value. 
46. In working on the bond issue, I am hearing people say if only the school district had done better maintenance, we wouldn't be in such a straight.  Specifically, I heard someone "appalled" by the auditorium, especially the poorly maintained sound tiles. Could you offer a response?
The maintenance budget for the 2014-15 school year is $767,309. When you deduct employee-related costs, wages and benefits, it leaves $378,100 of spendable budget. That amount is for the whole district, and we have well over 600,000 square feet of buildings. That spendable amount covers flooring, plumbing, purchasing vehicles and upkeep, lighting, parking lots,  electrical and heating controls. It also covers lamps/ballasts, painting, gas, roofing, general supplies and emergencies.  Our buildings are used, and have been used heavily, by thousands of students and staff members, and well over 80 community groups currently use our Gyms and Performing Arts Center.
Although our maintenance and custodial staff have done excellent work in keeping our buildings student-ready, Port Angeles High School’s aged facilities are no longer adequate to prepare our students for their future. The school’s systems (heat, ventilation, electric) continue to cost more each year to maintain.  A new, energy efficient school can significantly reduce maintenance and operational costs especially over time.
47. Of the $98,254. bond ..how much in additional interest is anticipated over the duration of the bond?
The total interest cost without any cushion is estimated to be approximately $54,578,000. It's important to remember that the District is a tax-exempt borrower meaning that investors who purchase the District's bonds don't pay tax on the interest earned therefore the District borrows at interest rates much lower than you or I could borrow at.  The PASD also has a history of paying down our debt early.
48. Please describe what the School District means by “project costs.”
The related project development costs cover significantly more items than the City’s permitting and development connection fees.  Those alone will probably be more in the neighborhood of 5-7%.  But there are many other things that we need to cover.  Sales tax alone will be 8-9% depending on your local rate.  Furniture, equipment and technology is going to be another 8-12%, if not more.  We want to allow for at least 5% for construction contingency.  Architect and engineer fees for design will be 7-10%, depending on the scope or services.  Add to that costs for surveys, soils testing, environmental studies, material testing during construction, etc.
During the planning the Capital Facilities Committee did not do a detailed breakdown but did compare to the average costs from several other school districts across western Washington.  As discussed in Committee planning meetings, 40% is conservative.  Larger school districts like Seattle, Lake Washington, and Tacoma use 45-50% for planning, but the average for smaller districts is 30-35%.  The Committee felt it was important to be conservative at this point in the process.  This may prove to be prudent in the long run.  As we are moving into the new year, there seems to be a stronger upward pressure on construction costs as the committee had anticipated. 
49. Please tell me what the seismic rating would be for the proposed school. I would like to know the size of earthquake that it could resist, not just that "it will be built to code.”
Short answer is that we don’t design to a specific earthquake size; we design to the anticipated ground movement based on the type and maximum size of earthquake expected in the area. Key points are that the school will be designed to remain standing after the largest earthquake we can anticipate in Port Angeles in 2,500 years, and that schools have a 125% design safety factor relative to other building types.
50. Importantly, what is the time line for increase to taxes with the bond? It does coincide with some expected inflation over the coming (x) years?
The new tax for the bond would start in 2016 if it passes in 2015. It would be at the full $2.60/$1,000 of assessed value. There would be no ramp up or coinciding with inflation.
51. Is there any way to reduce the price tag? I've read of features like an atrium that seem like luxuries. Other PA schools need upgrading too and I'm wondering if the HS project could be made more affordable by sticking to well-designed necessities and eliminate "extras" that add cost.
The highest amount that the new high school would cost is the $98,254,000. The Capital Facilities Planning Committee and community that worked on the concept and estimated price were very careful about what was being included. What is conceptualized is an average, sturdy, middle of the road school. There are not extras or luxuries included. The lobby for the auditorium (your mentioned atrium?) is a factor of an effort to retain that building and not having to build something new and much more expensive.
The Committee has spent a year studying costs of high schools in Washington state. They took the “Issaquahs and Tacomas” out of the study. Instead they focused on schools like Forks and Marysville, communities more like Port Angeles.
The average high school construction cost in 2014 for schools like Port Angeles in communities similar - $315 / square foot. We built in a phasing premium, which saves us $1.5 million over portables, @ 1.5% Local builders and architects recommended a regional premium, because we are on the Peninsula, @ 3.5%
Time value of money, escalation to 2017 when we start to put shovels in the ground, @11%
Then, there are all the development costs. Things like sales tax, permitting, architects, moving, equipment, furniture, printing, site surveys, etc. This piece is 40% of the $98 million.
PAHS has a middle of the road cost of $414 / square foot.
52. How are you going to handle other needs for other Port Angeles school in the meantime? Any ideas?
Over the past several years a Long-Range Facilities Task Force met a couple times a month. It was a group of 65+ people, including teachers, secretaries, parents, principals, local architects, concerned citizens, local leaders from the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, etc. There were no board members on the committee. We studied enrollment trends, economics, 21st Century learning styles, building conditions, school finance and more. At the end of the assignment, they recommended to first, replace the high school and then they recommended to move the sixth graders to the middle school and close an elementary school. This is the long range plan.
Once the high school is completed, we will be eligible for state assistance funds. In today’s dollars that would be about $18 million. That would be enough to build the wing at Stevens for the sixth graders and do some upgrades at the elementary schools. The issue with these monies is that they aren’t guaranteed, and the School Board does not have full latitude in how they are spent. By State law, they are first to be used to complete the project. Then there are required public forums for input. After that input, the monies can be spent on new construction, capital repairs, paying down capital debt. State assistance funds can’t be used for teachers or classroom costs.
53. What is the Performing Arts Center?  This is included in the bond levy to construct a new high school.
The Performing Arts Center was built in 1959. It serves as the Auditorium for the high school and for the community at large. Groups such as the Port Angeles Symphony use this space. We will not be tearing it down. There is no way we could build another building like it with taxpayer support. Instead, it will be brought up to code. Because the new building will be close, we are required to do include the Performing Arts Center.
54. I don’t think I still have whatever may have come in the mail. Is there a way to get another one sent out?
Here are links to information sources:
Flyer
Mailer
Here is a link to our bond and levy page:   http://www.portangelesschools.org/administration/levybondinfo.html 
55. Where can I find a “detailed” breakdown of the cost for the new high school?
Presently the High School Bond project is in the “conceptual” stage, but I can provide some information which explains how the Capital Facilities Committee and architect firm came to the $98,254,000 bond amount:
What is conceptualized is an average, sturdy, middle of the road school. The Capital Facilities Committee spent a year studying costs of high schools in Washington state. They took the “Issaquahs and Tacomas” out of the study. Instead they focused on schools like Forks and Marysville, communities more like Port Angeles.
In comparing to schools built in the State, the average high school construction cost in 2014 for schools like Port Angeles in communities similar - $315 / square foot. To this amount:
•          We built in a phasing premium, which saves us $1.5 million over portables, @ 1.5%
•          Local builders and architects recommended a regional premium, because we are on the Peninsula, @ 3.5%
•          Time value of money, escalation to 2017 when we start to put shovels in the ground, @ 11%
•          Then, there are all the project development costs. Things like sales tax, permitting, architects, moving, equipment, furniture, printing, site surveys, etc. This piece is 40% of the $98 million.
•          For PAHS, we figured a middle of the road cost of $414 / square foot.
Up to 237,000 square footage is proposed for the new buildings.  This would keep all existing programs at current size, provide permanent space for those programs currently in portables, provide larger commons space, and tie the campus together under “one roof.” Extra square footage accounts for added hallways, passing areas and collaboration space.  Larger bathrooms in the Performing Arts Center are also envisioned in the conceptual plan. 
The related project development costs cover significantly more items than the City’s permitting and development connection fees.  Those alone will probably be more in the neighborhood of 5-7%.  But there are many other things that we need to cover.  Sales tax alone will be 8-9% depending on your local rate.  Furniture, equipment and technology is going to be another 8-12%, if not more.  We want to allow for at least 5% for construction contingency.  Architect and engineer fees for design will be 7-10%, depending on the scope or services.  Add to that costs for surveys, soils testing, environmental studies, material testing during construction, etc.
56. Comment: A north-facing window made of insulated glass loses a building’s heat 6 to 10 times as fast per square foot, as a properly insulated wall in the same building.   Therefore an architect or engineer concerned about the future cost of heating a proposed building will strive to keep north-facing window area to a minimum.   Please comment.
You are correct in general concept that a window will lose more heat than a wall.  You are also correct that from a heat loss standpoint the northern side of a building, which will not receive direct sunlight, is typically colder than the other three sides and therefore it will experience greater heat loss.  But with today’s glazing systems the difference between a window and a wall is not quite as dramatic as suggested.  More importantly, the difference in heat loss for any component of the building envelop is not that significant between the north and the south sides of a building.  Heat loss will be effected by the overall building envelop, solar orientation, the extent and type of glazing, the activities within the building, and the heating strategy for the facility. 
Heat loss is a major consideration in the energy performance of the facility, but only one of many considerations.  We look at the overall building envelop and overall performance, not just heat loss.  We do formal energy modeling on all of our projects and will on this project as well.  We have consistently found that almost without exception the number one user of energy in a high school is computers and technology, followed very closely by electric lighting.  We can greatly reduce the use of electric lighting through the proper use of daylighting.  Proper daylighting requires both letting the light in and controlling sun glare and heat gain.  Northern windows provide a consistent natural light throughout the day without direct glare or the heat gain that comes with southern exposures.  Electric lights create a lot of heat in a facility so reducing the need for electric lights through good daylighting strategies will reduce the demand for mechanical cooling on the warmer days and thereby reduce the overall energy use of the building as well.  That impact is even greater when we take into account solar heat gain.     
From a broader perspective, we also have to balance pure energy performance with many of the other considerations and drivers on this project.  A high school is much more complex than a residence, and much larger.  We will have spaces that face north, spaces that demand windows.  We won’t be able to avoid that.  Particularly on this site, where there is a view to the north and a hillside to the south.  The primary public approach is from the north and we will want to present an open, welcoming, public face to the community.  Will that mean the amount of windows on the north side as we show in the concept sketch, I can’t say, but I am reasonably confident that the community would not be pleased with a blank, windowless façade facing Park.
If I had to restate it in less words, I would probably reassure you the concept sketch was intended to represent an open, welcome community facility, not the actual school design. 
We appreciate your concerns about energy performance and we were sincere at the last community forum we when we said we will be studying the energy performance of the facility from a long term, life cycle cost perspective.  We will perform energy modeling of any potential design.  The new school will meet or exceed the energy efficiency standards of the Washington State Non-Residential Energy Code (which is much more stringent than the requirements for single family housing) and the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocols.
57. I would like to know how much my taxes are going to increase if the Bond to construct a new High School passes.  
Here’s an info page to show you the increase, estimated at $1.60 per $1,000 assessment) in your taxes for the high school bond:  http://www.portangelesschools.org/administration/bondhowmuch.html.
Here’s a broader explanation which will enable you to do your own math for your property:
Local funding of the bond - $98,254,000 - would result in a property owner’s tax cost of $2.06 per $1,000 assessed property value for 25 years based on 2014 values.
Property owners are currently paying 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for the Dry Creek and Jefferson Elementary bonds that expire in December 2015.  The Port Angeles High School bond will begin after this expiration.
The change in the amount a property owner would pay is from the current 46 cents to the new $2.06, an increase of $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
An owner whose property is valued at the community median of $172,250 is currently paying $79.24 annually. This will increase by $275.60, or $22.97 per month to $354.84 annually or $29.57 monthly.
***Calculate your estimated annual tax increasefor the bond - Divide your assessed property value by 1,000 and multiply by $1.60. 
58. Can you explain to me why schools built in 1958 and 1978 have to be replaced after only 36 and 56 years?
Here are a few points for your consideration:
• The use of a school building can be disproportional to other facilities mentioned. With teachers, staff and students, there are about 2,000 people per day using the PAHS facility, and events at night add to that number.
• The capital costs for major construction repairs of the facility, and the cost of counselors, teachers and support in the classroom all compete for the same dollars.
• The delivery of educational services at these schools is compromised by building configuration. These facilities were built before ADA was a law, and the support for technology was non-existent.
• The cost of major modernization that will not remedy significant issues is determined to be very close to the cost of replacement.
Although our maintenance and custodial staff have done excellent work in keeping our buildings student-ready, Port Angeles High School’s aged facilities are no longer adequate to prepare our students for their future. The school’s systems (heat, ventilation, electric) continue to cost more each year to maintain.  A new, energy efficient school can significantly reduce maintenance and operational costs especially over time.
59. Please provide comments on the feasibility of using modular construction.
We continue to stress that we’re at the concept stage, and that all options, including modular, are open for consideration once the district actually goes to the design stage; we are simply getting permission for the bonding number so we know the budget, etc. 
In concept, modular can have every bit the life span of conventional construction.  But that assumes you move away from most of the manufacturer’s standard construction and customize the modules.  That can be done and the manufacturers are willing to, but it ups the cost markedly.  The low costs publicized are for the lowest common denominator cost wise. 
Modulars can be easily remodeled at a cosmetic level, but they do not lend themselves to major modifications.  Their cost benefit comes from being very efficient with materials, particularly structure.  You can move some walls but the structural module is set and relatively small in both dimensions.  Major modifications are possible, but once you start modifying their basic structural systems the cost is likely to be more than modifying traditional construction.  That is even more the case if we plan the traditional construction with larger spans and avoid interior structural walls and columns.  With site built construction, we can put all of our shear capacity on the exterior and end walls, concentrate our bathrooms, electrical rooms, and other fixed infrastructure in the same location, and clear span everything in between.  That allows all of the interior partitions to be moved at a future date relatively easily.  That can’t be done with modular.
Modular does not lend itself to large span spaces.  They are limited by the module of semi-truck trailer.  We do not need to have large span for many of our spaces and could consider modular for portions of the project,  but we would need traditional construction for spaces such as the commons, music rooms, shops, shared activity areas, etc.   
There have been some schools in our region that have utilized modular construction with success.  Marysville is one example.  Lake Stevens also did one.  Both have a traditional stick framed core with modular classroom wings.  The cost savings came from making the classrooms generic boxes.  They do not address the diversity of space that we have been discussing nor are they very flexible.  They are a more traditional (20th century) school model and will not lend themselves to change, flexibility or adaptability in the future. 
Another example is Lake Washington’s STEM High School.  They utilized modular for a small high school focused on STEM. It is a two story, single wing building that fully embraced the strengths of modular.  They are stacked like Legos with limited site built framing around them to create an entry lobby.  The interior spaces are a bit more contemporary than Marysville but still pretty traditional and not flexible.  It only has general classrooms, science classrooms, and admin offices.  None of the large spaces that a comprehensive high school must have.  Their motivation was an extremely tight schedule, which they achieved.  The site development was done while the modulars were being fabricated off-site.  When they were ready the foundations were waiting and the modulars were dropped into place and “plugged in.”  McGranahan staff went to a presentation on that project and the Owner’s rep clearly said they would only take that approach again if schedule was the paramount consideration.  It cost them more than traditional construction, the quality is lower, and they have no flexibility.  So if schedule is not critical, they advised against it.
The overarching answer would be that yes, we can use modular, among other approaches, to make the project less expensive, but we need to balance that with the expectations of quality and longevity. 
60. Will the School District be eligible for state assistance funds if modular construction was selected as a means to build a new high school?
Modular construction units do not qualify from receipt of state assistance funds for construction and would eliminate the Port Angeles School District from receiving up to $18 million in state assistance funds for the 2015 high school bond measure, as well as for any funds to remodel the building in the future.

Levy and Bond questions, comments and suggestions may be sent via email to:  info@portangelesschools.org, or by U.S. Mail to:  Superintendent, Port Angeles School District, 216 East Fourth Street, Port Angeles, WA  98362.