McAlester school board accepts bond bid

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Adrian O'Hanlon III, McAlester News-Capital, Okla.
·3 min read
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Apr. 22—Action taken Thursday was another step forward in McAlester's $34.9 million bond initiative for a new middle school and event center.

McAlester Public School Board of Education members voted to award $2,925,000 general obligation building bonds to the lowest bidder — in what school officials have called the down payment for the larger project.

Superintendent Randy Hughes said taking another step in the bond process — combined with progress with a construction project at Will Rogers Elementary and coronavirus numbers declining — feels like a dream coming true.

"It's exciting to see the future and where we're heading," Hughes said.

"This is just a sign of getting back to normal," he added.

Board members awarded the bid to First National Bank & Trust Co. of McAlester in association with UMB Bank, N.A. of Kansas City, Missouri, with a $27,996.20 net interest cost and 0.379867% average rate.

MPS Board President Joy Tribbey moved to accept the bid and board member Shelli Colbert seconded the motion before members unanimously voted to accept it. Board members also voted to approve a resolution that allows issuance of the two-year, $2.9 million general obligation building bonds.

"That's exciting," Tribbey said.

J.C. Leonard, vice president at Stephen H. McDonald and Associates, Inc. which is the financial consultant for MPS on the bond initiative, told board members the bid is good.

"As you can see, that's a very very good bid," Leonard said. "They came in strong."

"First National has always helped the school," MPS board members Mike Sossamon said.

The board is required by law to award the bonds to the entity that submitted the lowest bid.

The board also received the following bids:

BOK Financial Securities, Inc. of Oklahoma City: $40,519.95 net cost, 0.549796% average rate

The Bank, N.A., of McAlester, in association with The Baker Group of Oklahoma City: $41,906.81 net cost, 0.568613% average rate

Country Club Bank of Prairie Village, Kansas: $43,231.50 net cost, 0.586588% average rate

BancFirst of Oklahoma City: $57,025 net cost, 0.773745% average rate

First Bankers' Banc Securities, Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri: $42,799.95 net cost, 0.580732% average rate

McAlester Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of Finance Chad Gragg previously said this is similar to a down payment for the entirety of the $34.9 million bond voters approved in February.

The next step is to set up a trust authority. School officials said they've discussed establishing a trust authority through the Pittsburg County commissioners, who would have to decide whether or not to allow it and sell the remainder of the bonds.

School officials also started scheduling interviews for construction managers on the project.

"It's a long process to get to the point where we can start, and that's what's exciting is I hope it won't be long until we start putting out contracts and getting bids on what it's going to cost to do it," Hughes said.

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com