Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -The Rochester School Board is expected to vote Tuesday on the hiring of two firms to design the district’s new schools.

The board is being asked to approve the hiring of a two-team partnership to provide architectural and engineering services for a new middle school and three new elementary schools.

The two are already familiar with the plans as they led a facilities task force that recommended the new schools.

The board will vote on a recommendation to award a $7.5-million contract to LHB/CRW. They were selected over two other finalists.

The firms will develop designs/plans for new buildings at the Longfellow and Harriet Bishop sites, a new elementary school in NW Rochester (Schmidt Park area) and a new middle school the district wants to build in SW Rochester.

The board will also vote on a recommendation to authorize the issuance and sale of $180,900,000 in bonds to pay for these and other projects that were approved in last month’s referendum.

Here is more info on the proposed bond sale:

The bonds will be repaid over a period of 20 years. The exact amount of the payments will be contingent upon the actual interest rate achieved when selling the bonds. The first payment will be from property taxes collected during 2020 and are assumed within the Approval of School District Property Taxes Payable in 2020. As shown on the second page of Attachment (C), the Estimated Tax Rate will go up for five years (2020-2024) due to the issuance of these bonds. Then the Estimated Tax Rate is projected to decline in 2025 and stay flat from there, assuming the debt plan is followed. Eventually, by 2040, there would no longer be a levy for these bonds and the taxing rate would drop back down. The final payment would be made on February 1, 2040.

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