We are approaching an exciting milestone in Compass History. We know that modular classrooms are temporary and we want to start moving toward the design of our permanent campus. At the next Council meeting (10/10/17 at 6 pm), your representatives will vote whether we should renovate our historic barn for classroom space or if we will embark on new construction.
Compass has been dreaming of this moment for a long time and if you talk to families who have been here a while, they’ll tell you that Compass has done this all before, years ago (before my time). Some members of our community might even say, “Oh here they go again…” They been dazzled with expensive plans before with no produceable outcome in the end.
Well, what happened before and how is this any different?
I’ve reviewed the plans…and the price tags! for Compass’ previous adventures in construction. Compass had big dreams, but they were ones that it could not afford. It would be like if your family went house hunting without getting pre-qualified for a mortgage first. You might look for a $900,000 house when you could only afford $350,000. In the last run at new construction, Compass was holding plans for an $8 million building. By my estimations, Compass can probably afford between $2-3 million (with financing, state housing aid, and increasing enrollment to our allowed cap of 220). As you can imagine, that $8 million project didn’t happen.
But the dream is real. Those modulars serve an important purpose, but they’re supposed to be temporary. I am a dreamer and I’m ready to make a run at it. Let’s revive the permanent facilities dream!
When I first came to Compass, I learned everyone had an opinion about the barn or new construction. At last year’s Vision Event, I talked about the importance of having concrete information offered by certified professionals who are paid to think deeply about our project to guide our decisions. We hired Saccoccio & Associates (using grant money) to answer these two questions:
- Barn Renovation: Is it possible to renovate the barn for classroom space? If so, how much will it cost?
- New Construction: Where is the best place for new construction? How much would it cost?
The verdict is in!
- Barn renovation:It is possible!
- Price tag: $2.4 million
- New construction:We have identified a site!
- $2.2 million
- Site planning (new parking lot, etc): $500,000
The Compass Site committee (Compass parent Evan Preisser is the chair) has met and evaluated the study we received from Saccoccio & Associates and will make a recommendation to Council on 10/10/17. Council will make the final vote.
The results of their vote will be revealed at the 3rd Annual Vision Event on Friday, October 13th! Come and join us at the South County Land Trust Barn at 6:00 for the Big Reveal!
Compass currently pays almost $50,000 per year to rent our 4 modular classrooms. We don’t own them. They’re expensive. We don’t have the money in the bank to pay for the reno or new construction outright; we would be financing it and using the $50,000 that we currently pay each year for the modulars to cover the new bond. Even with financing, we still can’t afford that $2 – $3 million figure I’ve floated unless we qualify for the state’s 30% housing aid reimbursement program through the School Building Authority.
I applied for the program on Compass’ behalf and we were accepted to participate in the process! There are 3 different benchmarks we must meet and beat this year in order find out if we get the 30%. It’s a big deal…30% of $3 million is almost $1 million. Meeting these benchmarks will be a huge part of my work and site committee’s work this year. The first one is due on Oct. 16th and it will take a lot of my brain to pull off. At the end, we’re hoping that the School Building Authority determines that Compass has met all the requirements and has a high enough of a priority (in comparison to the other schools currently in the application process with us) to be funded.
Hold on to your hats, my friends! We’re going for a ride! If we get approved for financing and for the 30% reimbursement, this will be a big deal for Compass’ future!
I have often been referred to as the eternal optimist (so take this next statement with a grain of salt…): I believe this will happen! I honestly believe that as a community, Compass can tackle just about anything. Let’s do this construction thing! 🙂
I have so much to share with you 🙂
For new folks, the majority of the adult community of Compass typically attends. There’s no charge, just bring yourself and some food to share. We hope you’ll join us!