Ridgefield School District Set to Host 2017 Bond Community Forum
RSD
Sunday, September 25, 2016
The Ridgefield School District will host a community forum on Tuesday, October 4 at Ridgefield High School from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., providing community members an opportunity to learn more about the 2017 bond.
Last May, following more than six months of intensive work, the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) delivered a report and recommendations to the Ridgefield School Board, requesting the board to put a bond on the February 2017 ballot.

A unique feature of the CFAC’s process was their purposeful engagement of the whole community. They hosted a community forum in March, held staff presentations at the school sites, provided updates to area business groups, and utilized a subcommittee structure to survey and interview parents, staff, and other stakeholders.

“This really is the community’s bond. We wanted to get as much input as we possibly could,” said Dana Ziemer, the group’s co-chair.


The CFAC recommendations included the construction of a new fifth and sixth-grade intermediate school and seventh and eighth-grade middle school at the district-owned property across South Hillhurst Road from Ridgefield High School. The two schools would share certain core facilities, such as food service, library-media center, and a black box theater to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The CFAC also strongly encouraged the district to continue pursuing the partnership with the City of Ridgefield to develop an outdoor recreation complex on the same property to be used by the school district, area athletic organizations, and the general public. The joint project has the potential to save taxpayers $5 million by constructing shared spaces.

Additionally, the CFAC proposes expanding Ridgefield High School to accommodate an additional 500 students. This project would focus on spaces for the fine arts, special education, science, a new library-media center, and more general education classrooms.

In the bond package, both Union Ridge Elementary and South Ridge Elementary receive safety and security upgrades, and a portion of the existing View Ridge Middle School is repurposed for an expanded community education program and the consolidation of district administration and support services.

The estimated cost breakdowns by project are:

Facility Need

CostRange
New 5-6 and 7-8 School Campuses$70,447,279$73,969,643
New Addition at RHS$22,051,180$23,153,739
Safety/Security Upgrades at South Ridge$493,482$542,830
Safety/Security Upgrades at Union Ridge$510,325$561,357
Repurpose View Ridge Middle School$1,894,981$2,084,247
Total Cost Range$95,397,247$100,311,816
In June, board members authorized district administrators to begin the planning and design for the new 5-6 and 7-8 schools complex. After four months of work, including many stakeholder engagement meetings, the district wants to move forward with the community to gather more information and feedback from citizens on the progress made to date. “For more than a year, the district has been preparing for this community bond project. I am exceptionally grateful for the many staff, parents, and residents who have contributed their time and energy to develop a series of recommendations that serve our growing community. We continue to make significant progress with planning and design, and I look forward to hearing from community members as they provide valuable input,” said Dr. Nathan McCann, the district’s superintendent.