MCC takes a step closer to facility repairs.

February 22, 2016

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central School District took another step towards fixing some major facility issues during the board of education’s regular meeting tonight.

The board voted to hire an energy efficiency firm, Honeywell, to study the school district’s buildings and find out where it could save money and also what systems may need to be repaired or replaced. The same firm conducted a similar study on the school over 15 years ago. Following that study, the school took out bonds to help pay for the repairs.

The payments on the repairs for the past 15 years have been $147,000 a year, and the loan will be paid off this year.

Superintendent Jeff Mount said federal bonds are available at 0% interest for schools that have 35% or more students who qualify for free or reduced price school lunches — which MCC qualifies for. The bonds will not require voter approval and will not mean increased taxes, Mount said, adding that the school could borrow up to $2.2 million on a 15-year loan with annual payments of $147,000.

Mount said some of the major items that are in need of repairs or replacement are the heating and cooling systems at most of the school buildings, with the exception of the 9-year-old Scottville Upper Elementary building. Mount said the heating systems at the middle school are mostly original to the building, which was built in 1976.

If the district were to borrow the money, it would not mean in increase in taxes, Mount said. “We’ve gotten used to operating without that money,” Mount said. “Our district is in major need of many facility repairs and this would be the best solution.”

Over the past several months the district has been studying facility needs. In January, a public meeting was held asking for district residents’ opinions on facility needs. That input, plus input from school employees are being considered in prioritizing which areas are in need of repairs and replacement.

The federal loan will not cover new buildings, Mount said.

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