DLR Group suggests a Spring 2022 bond issue vote if USD 489 board plans to move forward

Brianna Childers
Hays Daily News
USD 489 school board heard a presentation Monday from Amber Beverlin, DLR Group architect, on the company's bond planning process.

The USD 489 board of education will continue to slowly move forward a bond issue after hearing from DLR Group during its Monday meeting. 

Amber Beverlin, a DLR architect, presented to the board the company's seven-step bond planning process. 

Beverlin said the process starts by laying the groundwork and creating a committee of people who can offer a variety of perspectives. 

DLR Group will also look at what facility additions could be beneficial to the school district as well as the community. 

"You have buildings over 50 years old so you have obvious needs even just in maintenance, not just the updates for education changes," Beverlin said. "Are you ADA compliant, what systems are aging out?"

Any plan that would be created would be based on research and input from the community and students, Beverlin said. 

Beverlin said DLR Group would look at trends occurring in education throughout the world that could be applied to the Hays school district. 

"Are there auditoriums, are there athletic facilities, are there different environments that we can offer to the public to have those partnerships, enhance those partnerships," Beverlin said. 

School board member Tammy Wellbrock asked if DLR Group will look at the standards set by other school districts so that USD 489 can build facilities that help with educator recruitment, athletics and academics. 

"We've worked a ton in Kansas," Beverlin said. "We have a lot of first-hand knowledge that we can bring as well and I think that's a great point to bring to make sure and kind of refresh. You do want to stay within your league or even at the top of your league."

After finishing the presentation, Beverlin said the survey recently put forth by the board was a great step and should be used as a guiding light. 

The survey, conducted by ExcellenceK12, showed 68% of respondents would "strongly support" or "support" a bond issue. 

"I think it's going to tell us a lot about what we need to expand on. ..." Beverlin said. "Things look different than when the last bond ran."

Board president Mike Walker said it is important the community understands DLR Group is not leading the district down a specific path. 

"I think there was a perception last time that you were leading us down a path and that certainly was not true because I was in the committee meetings and I was on the vision team," Walker said. "So I think we want to make sure that we get the word out that it's our community coming up with these ideas."

DLR Group is the expert, Walker said, and guides the board through the proper steps and tells them which projects are feasible. 

"It's our job to make sure we are facilitating the process well so that you know the options that are out there," Beverlin said. 

Walker asked when DLR Group would suggest putting forth a bond issue vote. 

Beverlin said after talking with USD 489 superintendent Ron Wilson a Spring 2022 vote makes sense. 

"We've got a lot of time to get everyone educated about this, get everyone on the same page about what will be supported," Beverlin said.  

The board didn't further discuss the bond issue or say if the topic will come up during the next meeting.