The Hamilton school board will be discussing a proposal to ask for voter approval of a $500,000 operations levy and a 30-year $8 to $10 million construction bond this summer.

The board will meet March 14 and those are two of four major issues on the agenda, according to Superintendent Tom Korst, who presented the proposals at a Town Hall meeting Wednesday night, March 1.

About 50 people attended the meeting at the Hamilton Middle School auditorium. Korst said the declining enrollment is the reason for the mill levy, which will keep current programs, recruit and retain teachers and help with building maintenance.

However, it could go hand-in-hand with a bond request that would close the Washington Elementary School on North 5th and consolidate kindergarten through 4th grades at Daly School, with 5th through 8th grades at the Middle School. Classrooms would need to be added to each school, with Daly School also getting a new gymnasium. The bond would also pay for a new football stadium and track at Hamilton High School, replacing Haynes Field.

The bond would replace the retiring bond that paid for the new high school on Fairgrounds Road, so Korst said the bond would be "tax neutral."

High School Principal Dan Kimsey said Haynes Field has deteriorating bleachers, buildings and lights, along with an unusable track and limited parking. The stadium idea at the new high school on Kurtz Lane was presented in 1997, with better track and more seating, more community use and less cross-town transport for practices.

Middle school Principal Marlin Lewis said that a recent major improvement project at the former high school on South 5th has passed safety tests for structural soundness and he presented the plan for separation of younger students from older students, using the adjacent Pod building. A new playground would also be designed.

The board is also considering possible sale of the Washington School property and the old Westview School, Haynes Field and adjacent property. The Westview building is currently leased by the Bitterroot College of the University of Montana.

The board's next meeting is March 14, according to Chairman David Bedey.