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Patriot Bremerton Feeling lucky? Bremerton’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade runs this Saturday Page 8 FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2014 | Vol. 17, No. 5 WWW.BREMERTONPATRIOT.COM | 50¢ West Hills STEM Academy delayed School district financing isn’t adequate to cover construction costs BY SERAINE PAGE SPAGE@SOUNDPUBLISHING.COM Last Thursday, the weight of the decision fell across the room as heavy as sawdust covers a construction site. The Bremerton School District board members paused, thought quietly and then finally decided. The construction on the West Hills STEM Academy would have to wait. Other projects needed more immediate funding, such as the leaky roof at Bremerton High School. During a bi-monthly board meeting, the members again postponed the project due to financing issues. Wayne Lindberg, director of finance and operations for the district, laid out the options for the board. For the project to be fully funded, it would have cost a little over $2.5 million, Lindberg said, which is more than the district currently has available for such projects. Without a loan, that amount would have needed to have been funded through the capital levy that was approved in 2012, which has recent collections coming up in the next two months. The 2015 collection would have also been put toward the project, pushing it into a 2015 start date. Lindberg estimated that the shortfall if construction were to start in a few weeks could range between $400,000 and $700,000. With the option to move forward with the project, Lindberg advised they take out a loan to themselves, take out an interfund loan, or transfer out of the general fund to make the project happen. “We’re just gonna be a little bit short,” he said. A year ago the board received a presentation from Lindberg letting them know that there would be a cash flow issue in the future when it came to the project. While it was discussed to possibly put aside a “specific reserve” for the West Hills STEM Academy, it never happened, Lindberg said. The board deliberated and bounced questions off one another regarding other pressing issues in the district that may need the capital funds more immediately, like the Bremerton High School roof. The district has spent around $12,000 fixing the leaks in the roof that was meant to last much longer than it has. Those funds for repairs come out of the capital levy funds, Lindberg said. Superintendent Dr. Aaron Leavell weighed in on the topic after Director and Board President Scott Rahm asked what the priorities were and what’s changed since when the capital levy project was approved. “I’m not sure that there’s bucket brigades all over the building. There’s a concern it’s leaking into the walls and causing different types of problems,” Leavell said, noting that the rainwater could get into the walls and wreck electricity. Leavell said the prior administration adjusted for the academy to start moving things along for the construction. Grade levels were added and the building was switched and structured to how it would function as a true STEM school, Leavell said. But other building issues popped up in the meantime, calling for the board’s attention immediately as well, not making it an easy decision, he said. “This has been one of those programs and one of those projects that we’ve been touting,” said Leavell. “This does become a really tough decision for you. I hate using the word “prioritizing” because that’s not really what we’re doing. What we’re doing is saying are we willing to still make that tough decision with the school district’s budget and still accomplish both projects over the next two years.” Among the projects to be paid for by the capital levy include roof replacements at the high school and Crownhill Elementary School. Other items on the list included improvements to technology, energy upgrades for long-term savings and upgraded fire alarm systems. Lindberg said some of the projects are underway. Another item — the central district kitchen — has already been completed. Some of the work at West Hills STEM Academy can possibly get done this year, including sidewalks, a SEE STEM, A9 Kevan Moore/staff photo A heron wades near the shoreline of Kitsap Lake Tuesday evening as the sun prepares to set. Buckle up for Beethoven in Bremerton BY KEVAN MOORE KMOORE@SOUNDPUBLISHING.COM Conductor Alan Futterman, the Music Director of the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra, says there is a lot to look forward to in this Saturday’s tribute to Ludwig Van Beethoven. “I think that the audience will be blown away by the level of playing they will hear this weekend,” Futterman said. The performance, “Ludwig’s Legacy,” is set to start at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 15, at the Bremerton Performing Arts Center. The all volunteer orchestra will perform the Egmont Overture, the Beethoven Violin Concerto and the Seventh Symphony. The latter is described by Futterman as some of the first “heavy metal” music. “The music has driving and relentless rhythms pounding away at the same chords over and over again,” he said. “It had excitement and rhythm in a way that no music had ever had before. It gets maximum energy and maximum sound out of a classical orchestra. It is fearsome and beyond anything Mozart or Haydn or his predecessors had done.” And don’t let the fact that the symphony is made up of working professionals fool you into thinkSEE BEETHOVEN, A9 Crews remove two Highland Avenue trees BY KEVAN MOORE KMOORE@SOUNDPUBLISHING.COM Bremerton Public Works crews removed a pair of trees planted along the sidewalk of Highland Avenue last week. Milenka HawkinsBates, a Public Works manager, said that her department can remove trees that are causing major safety hazards, either following a request from a resident, as was the case last week, or at the department’s discretion. The branches of the Highland Avenue trees were interfering with power lines running to a pair of homes and the roots of the trees have buckled sidewalks. At least one member of the city’s Tree Committee, though, was concerned by the way the removal occurred. “At a minimum the city needs to communicate its intentions, the reason for its intentions, and what the city is going Kevan Moore/staff photo City crews removed two problematic trees on Highland Avenue last, but left this one, and others, in place. to do to make up for the loss of tree cover within the city along with the loss of the benefits that are gained from having street trees; prior to having taken action,” wrote John Larson in an email. SEE TREES, A9

Bremerton Patriot, March 14, 2014

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