Meridian School bus

The Meridian Public School District is planning to upgrade security and athletic facilities in a multi-million dollar capital improvement project across its middle and high school campuses.

On Tuesday, MPSD Superintendent Amy Carter spoke to the Meridian City Council about the plan.

“We have a wonderful opportunity before us as a school district and as a community,” she said. “We have the chance to go after a $34 million bond issue to do some upgrades to our school, and I want to say it will be a $34 million bond issue without a tax increase for the citizens of Meridian.”

Carter said the district had sent the final payment on its $19.5 million bond issue passed in 2008, which freed up the tax revenue used for bond payments.

MPSD’s plan, she said, calls for using that same millage to do a new $34 million bond to make further improvements.

“You’re probably wondering what could the school district do with $34 million,” she said. “First and foremost we will be looking at security and safety upgrades to our campuses.”

Meridian schools have multiple entry and exit points, which hinder the district’s effort to restrict comings and goings throughout the school day, Carter said.

Adding additional security and safety features at the district’s schools, she said, will be a major part of the capital improvement project.

Additionally, Carter said, MPSD would like to build new baseball and softball facilities. Currently, she said, the school’s baseball teams practice at Q.V. Sykes park, and its softball teams practice at Northeast Park.

“Although we provide transportation for after school practices, we are looking as a school district for ways to connect students to extracurricular activities sooner,” she said. “We feel like if we do something like a new complex on the campus, baseball, softball, we will connect more students.”

Carter said renovation of the district’s fine arts facilities, including band and chorus, are also part of the discussion.

Currently, Carter said, the district plans to schedule an election for the bond for Aug. 9, in which residents will head to the polls to decide whether or not to approve the school district’s bond.

In the meantime, Carter said the public was invited and encouraged to attend a series to community meetings on June 30, July 28 and Aug. 2 to hear from the architect working on the plans and learn more about the district’s goals for the funds.

Each meeting, Carter said, will be held at 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose building on Meridian High School’s campus.

“Come to some of these meetings so you can get more information about the renovation projects and the no tax increase bond that will be coming,” she said.

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