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Alpine pushing biggest bond

The $200 million would fund new buildings, upgrades

AMERICAN FORK — Stages, air conditioning, electrical line upgrades, energy-efficient windows, new water pipes — there's something for nearly everyone on the Alpine School District shopping list for its upcoming $200 million bond proposal.

Forty-one schools in the district that serves 47,000 students and covers territory from Orem to Cedar Fort would get something from their wish lists. Some would get several wishes.

Most of the schools would have air conditioning systems added.

Nearly $6 million would be spent on energy-efficient windows for schools throughout the district.

Kitchens, classrooms, media centers, offices and gymnasiums would be upgraded, renovated or replaced.

Eight new elementary schools would be built — five or six of those in the west Lehi area and two or three in Highland. New junior high schools would be built in Lehi and Highland, and the Alpine Life and Learning Center would get a permanent home, probably in the Lindon area.

Land would be purchased for a new high school, possibly in the Alpine/Highland area.

Clear Creek Camp would get new showers and restrooms. Portable units at most of the overcrowded schools would be replaced with more permanent additions.

The old section of Forbes Elementary in American Fork would be demolished and replaced.

Lakeridge Junior High in Orem would get a new band room. So will American Fork Junior High.

Bonneville Elementary, Highland, Lehi, Orem and Valley View would get stages.

Pleasant Grove High School would get a better football field with bleachers and dressing rooms.

Two high schools, Lone Peak and Timpanogos, would get additions to their

physical education facilities.

"Everyone except our newest schools has something on our list of possible bond projects," said Superintendent Vern Henshaw. "It's designed to accommodate growth for the next 8,000-10,000 students."

If that growth comes right away, the bond will only cover needs for about the next five years. If growth is slower than anticipated, the bond may be sufficient for seven to 10 years, he said.

"We don't see this as the end of the growth," Henshaw said. "We're aware of the projects planned out by Saratoga Springs and Redwood. We know there are two on the mountain out by Micron."

Henshaw said the needs are clearly there, and he believes the taxpayers in the district will support the bond — the largest ever proposed by the district — which is expected to be put to voters for approval May 8.

Bonds floated during the 1990s totaled $188 million and approximated what the district expects for the next decade.

At the board's Feb. 27 meeting, Zions Bank finance officer Carl Empey told the board the district has a strong Triple A credit rating and the $200 million bond won't hurt that.

"You'd still be the moderate debt level area and near the top echelon of school districts," Empey said.

Empey said a recent re-funding of $17 million of bonds issued in 1992 has saved the district $640,000.

"You have great management," he said. "We're not concerned (about adding the $200 million)."