COMMUNITY INVESTS IN WESTMINSTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Thanks to the support of Westminster Public Schools voters, a mill levy measure was passed in November 2018. A portion of the funds was allocated to make much-needed investments in capital construction projects in the District. To maximize the value of those dollars, the district decided to issue Certificate of Participation (COPs).
Districtwide Network Enhancements
Main Distribution Frame Project: As technology becomes more indispensable to our core instructional processes and daily administrative functions, a robust redundant system must be in place to quickly get the network up and running during periods of unanticipated outages. As recent events have demonstrated, events beyond our control (i.e., local construction/excavation) can interrupt network services for substantial periods of time. We propose a total redesign and expansion of the MDF (Main Distribution Frame) room at Ranum in order to provide reliable back-up and redundancy during unforeseen network interruptions. This project would involve relocating fiber/equipment and re-running cable within the building.
Internal Network Upgrades and Updates Project: Each year, the demand on our network at the building level increases as more devices are added and more instructional tools become web-based. We have a number of schools where the internal network needs some attention. In order to support the growing demands of our instructional initiatives, we need to rewire, add network switches, and upgrade our tech infrastructure at the following schools: STEM, F.M. Day, Fairview, Tennyson Knolls, Metz, Shaw Heights, and Scott Carpenter. As we upgrade, we will also add additional drops to support the installation of cameras as we expand our security efforts.
Anticipated project cost is $600,000.
Using the proceeds from the 2006 bond and subsequent refinancing (gave us an additional $5.4 million), we have been able to upgrade mechanical systems to include air in all elementary schools with the exception of the Early Childhood Center (ECC), F.M. Day, and Skyline. The board committed to continuing this project as funds became available and we support this pledge made to the community. In upgrading the mechanical systems at we will include upgrades to the network, lighting upgrades, new ceilings, and a secured vestibule.
Aproximate cost for mechanical upgrade work at the Early Childhood Center is $7,000,000
FM Day Renovation Daycare-PK
The District plans to upgrade current FM Day facility into a daycare through PK program.
FM Day project cost is expected to be $7,000,000.
Metropolitan Arts Academy Renovation PK-8
Upgrade Metz Elementary to create flexible learning/performance spaces for a K-8 innovation school with a focus on arts.
Aproximate cost: $4,000,000.
Safety & Mechanical Upgrades
The district currently has a number of schools that allow direct access from the outside of the building directly into our instructional spaces. We believe secured vestibules, where an interstice is created between the outside and instructional space will enhance security at the building level. The schools where a secured vestibule needs to be addressed are: Westminster Academy for International Studies, Fairview, Mesa, Sunset, Sherrelwood, Shaw Heights, and STEM Academy.
Estimated Cost: $6,600,000
Scott Carpenter Renovation K-8
Scott Carpenter upgrades would include improvements to the mechanical systems, to include air conditioning, designing a new entryway, landscaping and playground modernizations, wiring/lighting/technology enhancements, addressing the issue of soil movement, and a kitchen remodel.
This work could be divided into two phases:
Phase I: Spring/Fall 2019—exterior work, landscaping, playground, front entryway
Phase II: Spring/Summer 2020—interior work, mechanical upgrades, lighting, tech
Aproximate cost: $15,000,000
Skyline New Building Project PK-8
Skyline is currently a 33,900 square foot school and, while one of the newer schools, is one of our schools in the worst condition. We propose a 50,267 square foot K-8 facility to be built on the site—about 500 students.
Approximate cost: $30,000,000
What Are COPs?
A certificate of participation (COP) is a type of financing where an investor purchases a share of the lease revenues of a program rather than the bond being secured by those revenues. COPs are secured by lease revenues.
- COPs provide the district with the most immediate means of financing these critical school projects.
- COPs allow the district to secure a low interest rate and sustainable yearly lease payments.
- COPs are issued securities to raise capital as a means of financing facility construction. They are used by governments, municipalities, and school districts across the country to finance construction projects when funds are not available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
How COPs Work
- A lease-financing agreement is used by a municipality or local government to acquire real property or update current property.
- A certificate of participation is a tax-exempt lease-financing agreement that is sold to investors as securities resembling bonds.
- The local government makes regular payments over the annually renewable contract for the acquisition and use of the property.
- A COP contrasts with a bond, in which the investor loans the government or municipality money to make these improvements.
Historical Use Of COPs
- Colorado government entities have been issuing COPs for more than 35 years.
- There has been more than $1.5 billion in COPs issued by Colorado school districts in the last five years, in response to population growth, the need to build new schools and make structural improvements to existing schools.
- The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled on two occasions that COPs are exempt from TABOR, and therefore do not require prior voter approval.