By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Canadian County commissioners have approved incurring up to $75 million in debt to expedite construction of a large Yukon school bond project.
The three commissioners, as trustees of the Canadian County Educational Facilities Authority (CCEFA), agreed to issue lease revenue bonds or notes “in the aggregate principal par amount not to exceed $75 million” for the Yukon school district.
A resolution – approved by commissioners at their weekly meeting April 24 – allows these funds to be used to “complete the acquisition, construction, equipping, renovating, and remodeling of school buildings, acquiring school furniture, fixtures and equipment and acquiring and improving school sites.”
The $75 million has been designated for major Yukon High School addition and renovation, and storm shelters for the Yukon school district.
Highlights will be a new performing arts center, college and career center, indoor activity facility, and expanded commons area on the YHS campus.
Manhattan Construction Co. has been selected as construction manager for the project.
Securing this lease-revenue note provides funds “up-front” so the contract for the YHS construction project may start as soon as possible, YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said.
Simeroth is optimistic about having a September groundbreaking.
YPS voters resoundingly approved a $194 million bond issue package in a November 2021 election to provide these and other upgrades across the district.
CCEFA trustees, working with Canadian County school districts like Yukon, issue bonds and enter into lease arrangements so improvements may be expedited.
This is done because a school district may only be indebted up to 10% of its net property valuation at one time, Chairman Dave Anderson pointed out.
Just last week, Canadian County commissioners approved incurring up to $160 million in debt for Mustang Public Schools’ bond projects.
The authority’s financing helps school districts construct improvements “all at once” instead of “in phases,” according to Anderson.
The process allows Canadian County school districts to increase their credit limit while providing a cost savings, he added.
Without the CCEFA’s support, school districts would have to issue smaller bonds or notes – about $20 million – and it would take considerably longer to finish large construction projects.