MPS explains process of paying for $19 million in school project - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

MPS explains process of paying for $19 million in school projects

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

It's a huge project and many say it could do wonders.

But how is the Montgomery Public School system paying for it?

It's a total remodel of Montgomery Mall.  Millions of dollars to convert the old building into two new schools--Loveless Academic Magnet Program and MTEC.

Officials say it involves borrowing money and moving some around.

"This isn't guesswork for us," says Superintendent Barbara Thompson.

Thompson is confident board members understand the decisions they have made.

"We've already looked at saving and being as financially vigilant as possible."

Closing the current LAMP building and consolidating much of the central office into one space at Montgomery Mall is expected to save the system $1-million dollars a year.

"we have lots of monies that we spend in utilities and energy, so when we talk about savings we have quite a bit of savings that are potentially there," adds Thompson.

But it doesn't cover the up-front costs--$19 million dollars worth.

For that, Thompson says the board will likely approve getting a $30 to $40 million dollar bond issue.

Leaders hope the bond will stretch further than Montgomery Mall, though, to other similar projects in old, inefficient school buildings.

"Such as Lanier [High School]. We need to remodel some of those schools."

The money the system saves through consolidation will pay it off in time. But leaders say they have to get a bond soon.

"This is a good time to do that because of the finance interest rates."

The school system is also talking about selling some properties. This could include old school or central office buildings currently empty.

They plan to roll that money in to their capital account to pay for projects like Montgomery Mall and other renovations.

School officials would not reveal which properties are soon to be sold. The Montgomery Mall project, complete with its two schools and outdoor ball fields, is slated to be finished by 2015.

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