When students return to Salem High in the fall, things will look drastically different from how it did in March when COVID-19 forced them to finish the academic year from home. Built in 1977, the high school enrolls approximately 1,300 students annually.
A Comprehensive Facility Study in 2006 revealed that South Salem Elementary and Salem High needed the most facility updates in the Salem City School Division. On May 27, the city issued their 2020 General Obligation Public Improvement and Refunding Bonds. With an interest rate of 1.45 percent, Wells Fargo was the winning bid.
Proceeds from the sold bonds will fund renovations of $27 million for the high school project. The low-interest rate, said City of Salem Finance Director, allows the city’s taxpayers to realize considerable savings on interest costs for the borrowing. “The credit rating received by the City combined with the timing of the sale allowed us to capitalize on the lower rates being offered in the bond market,” he said.
Because students haven’t been at the school since March, G&H Construction is ahead of schedule. Abington Roofing was able to start their work ahead of schedule too.
Members of Salem City Council and Salem School Board joined forces at the groundbreaking ceremony of Salem High on Tuesday.
“Arguably no high school means more to its citizens in this region or likely the state than Salem High School does. There is a lot of pride in this city, and it is great for all of us to get this project underway,” said Mayor Randy Foley. “We were able to get work started early and were able to secure a very favorable borrowing rate, so some things have worked out despite all of the craziness going on these days.”
Added Salem School Board Chairman David Preston, “It always comes back to leadership. The administrators and the teachers at Salem High School got us from a price tag and a plan that didn’t make sense to one that we can live with and afford. This has been quite a journey and we couldn’t have done this without City Council’s support.”
More information to come as this story develops.