Lakeland school officials have modified building plans in the wake of last spring’s failed bond issue.
Instead of building a junior high at Spirit Lake, the school district is proposing building a combined junior and senior high there.
The Lakeland School Board voted Monday night to hold an $8.6 million bond election on Oct. 8 that would pay for the new combined school and the addition of three classrooms to Garwood Elementary School.
“We were having to say, ‘three to five years we’ll have to hit you up for another high school,”’ said Joy Porter, who chairs the school board. “We’re also about $1 million less than last time.”
Last time was in March, when the school district failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to pass a $9.3 million bond. The election had an option of voting for an additional $650,000 to start a hot lunch program.
The $9.3 million included funds to renovate and expand the high school to accommodate more students, and add classrooms to Garwood Elementary.
Now, the district plans to move 300 students from the high school and another 300 from the junior high to the new combined school, if the bond passes.
“The most commonly suggested alternative after the March election was to do something that takes care of both the junior high and the high school,” said Bob Jones, Lakeland schools superintendent.
Both schools have witnessed growing populations as new subdivisions crop up around Rathdrum, Spirit Lake and Athol.
The new school would be designed to separate the junior high from the high school students, Jones explained. Older and younger students would have different schedules to discourage mixing, he said.
Although some residents of the far-flung school district wanted the proposed new school in a more central location, a majority of school board members agreed that Spirit Lake was the best spot.
The school district already owns 42 acres within the city limits, where it has access to water and sewer.
Bond supporters only have six weeks to campaign for the election, but Jones said much of last election’s opposition has dissolved. Rathdrum developer Larry Clark, who bank-rolled opposition to the previous bond, has agreed to support the new proposal, Jones said. Clark was unavailable for comment.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SUPPORTERS MEETING An organizational meeting for bond supporters is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 4 in the high school commons.