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home : news : local   May 24, 2016

1/17/2013 5:16:00 AM
Hall asks voters to replace old school; Referendum on April 9 ballot

Hall referendum FAQ

The Hall High School website has these answers posted so far about the proposed building project:
1) What is the total cost of the new school project?
 The total cost for the entire project (site work, building construction and demolish of the current school) will be 32 million dollars.
2) Where will the new school be located?
The new school will be built on the front lawn of the current school property located
 directly north of the current school. The new school will cover about 3.5 acres of the
 7 acre front lawn.
3) What will happen to the current school?
The current school will be demolished and the area between the new school and
the football stadium will become parking and traffic flow for the school.
4) What will be the tax increase for a property owner if the 32 million dollar referendum passes? 
A homeowner who lives in a house with a market value of $100,000 will pay
an increase of $23.55 per month over the 30 year term of the loan. (Please visit the
school website at to see a table that outlines tax rate increases
to both owner occupied and senior owner occupied homes of various values.)
5) What will the District do if the referendum fails?
If the referendum fails, the District will renovate the current school at a cost to the
taxpayers of 18 million dollars. The renovation will include handicap accessibility
(requiring the addition of five elevators), as well as improvements to the roofing, heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing and other life safety issues.
No improvements would be made to improve educational efficiencies such as technology, classroom size, science labs or vocational programming.
6) Is the District receiving state construction grant funding for the new school project?
The school District is currently on the waiting list for state construction grant funding and could receive funding in the future. All construction grant funds that the District might receive in the future would be applied to the 32 million dollar loan.
7) Will the new school have multiple levels and if so, will there be elevators?
The main school building, which will house the majority of the academic classrooms, will have three levels and one elevator. The east wing of the school, which will house the fine arts (music, art and theater) and the west wing of the school, which will house physical education and athletics will be built on ground level only.
8) Will the new school be built with room for future increases in enrollment?
The proposed new school will consist of approximately 127,000 square feet as
compared to the current school which consists of 132,000 square feet. Although
the current school has more square footage, approximately 50% of the current school
is non-classroom space (hallways, stairs, landings, etc) which is makes it structurally inefficient. In comparison, the proposed new school, although smaller, will be more
structurally efficient and have the capability to house 550 students as compared to the
current school which now houses about 390 students.
9) What would the cost savings be if the District renovated and saved the current gymnasium as opposed to demolishing the current gym and building two new gyms?
The net savings resulting from saving the current gym and building only one new gym
would be approximately $300,000 to $700,000. Keeping the current gym would entail
renovation to enable the current gym to be a stand-alone building. In addition, the current gym, if renovated, would not be connected to the new school which would limit
use during the school day for physical education classes.

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NewsTribune Reporter

Hall High School Board on Wednesday formally approved a resolution for a referendum to ask voters to pay to replace the nearly 100-year-old school.
“This is the first legal step that needs to be taken,” said Kevin Wills, vice president of the First Midstate Inc. from Bloomington.
The board plans to retain Midstate as bond underwriters and Chapman and Cutler LLP, in Chicago, as bond counsel. The resolution passed unanimously and will now go to the county clerk before the Jan. 31 deadline so it can be placed on the ballot April 9. The new school is estimated to cost $32 million.
The board recently posted “frequently asked questions” and tax information on the Hall High website, The school’s answers to questions also can be found today on our website, Superintendent Mike Struna said he posted the answers as he received questions and would continue to do so until the vote in April. Struna said the formal referendum question also would be posted on the website.
The site contains answers to tax and design questions about the project. Homeowners who own a house with a market value of $100,000 will pay an increase of $23.55 per month or $282.60 a year over the 30-year term of the loan, according to the superintendent. Struna also said many people asked the school board about the size of the new school; he noted that though it would be smaller than the present building, it will maximize space and hold more students.
“Fifty percent of the current building is hallways,” said Struna. “It’s not enough to hold 500 students.”
Board members Mike Morris and Betsy Sobin said they wanted to make public more facts about why they needed a new school.
“What is our bang for our buck?” Sobin said, posing yet another question for Struna to answer.
The board plans to increase classroom sizes, wireless capabilities, energy efficiency and make building handicap-accessible. Currently, the school pays about $100,000 a year for heating through three boiler systems of steam, hot water and forced air. Board members said they hope to decrease this cost in the new school.
After the board meeting, a Citizens for a New Hall High School meeting took place at City Hall. The school board president, Jack Boroski, and superintendent Struna attended the meeting along with 21 other members of the community to discuss plans for gaining support for the vote in April.
The citizens group announced it is launching a Facebook and website page where people can find information and endorse the referendum. For example, Pat Herrmann, Bureau County state’s attorney, endorsed the movement. The group plans to attend city hall meetings and hold events at the school where people in the community can have tours and talk to the architects and tax experts.

Alicia LeGrand can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or


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