Alpine School Board inks contract for new high school construction

ALPINE — The Alpine School board last week approved a contract for $22,490,000 with Imperial Construction of Weatherford for a new high school building and related facilities. Imperial was one of four bidders for the project under a successful bond issue with the high school as the principle item.

Bonds were sold in August and, depending on additional negotiations and a go-ahead from the city, construction could begin almost immediately with completion scheduled for June 2022.

At the bond sale last month, Erick Macha, a director at Hilltop Securities of Dallas representing bond underwriter Deposit Trust Company, told the school board they were buying $20,245,000 in bonds. Coupled with a premium of $2,613,681.60, the yield will be $22,858,681.60.

The school district received a very high Double-A-Minus rating for a bond sale that will carry an overall interest rate of 2.963%. The highest rating possible would be a Double-A-Plus.

Macha presented a chart of interest rates showing the present rate is near the 20-year low of 2.8% for the 30-year issue.

Voters approved the issue in the 2018 General Election to yield $22.588 million to build a new high school building and other improvements.

The difference between the yield and the $22.588 million to fund the project will go to various fees and commissions to the underwriters.

Finance Director Tucker Durham said the $2.6 million premium could all go to the project, except that the school used some pre-bond funds that have to be reimbursed.

But the yield still is enough to cover the project, and the district now is waiting for the go-ahead from city building official David Hale.

Tucker said no further board action is needed unless the price increases after last week’s action, which would come in the form of change orders.

The school board has tried in recent years to sell bonds without success to replace the high school building, first opened in 1973.

A similar bond issue failed in 2018 and the school board promptly appointed a citizen committee and came up with the numbers for the present issue in the same year. An earlier issue in 2011 was similar in size but also included a new stadium and failed heavily.

The stadium issue came up in discussions for the next two issues, even though it was not among the items listed in bond proposals.

The old building has security and other issues and most agreed it was time for a replacement. The new building will be built immediately north of the existing building, which will be demolished after the new facility opens.