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TAVARES, FL-Lake County School District has $220 million worth of new construction and renovations planned at five high schools and two elementary schools over the next 10 years. The only hitch: Money. The district has only $120 million in the till.

To get the needed $100 million, school officials are banking on taxpayers approving an extension of the seven-cent sales tax in November. That revenue would start at $7 million in the first year and build to the end of the 15-year tax life.

School officials estimate they would be able to bond that projected revenue, using future tax receipts as collateral, into a $150 million for construction purposes.

If taxpayers reject the sales tax extension, the tax reverts back to six cents on every dollar’s worth of purchases and puts the district in a bind on future construction work.

“I frankly don’t know what we would or could do if that scenario occurs,” a school district staffer intimate with the construction expense details tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

Lake and nearby Orange County general contractors, structural engineers and architects hope the sales tax will be extended, giving them an opportunity to bid on new work. Tavares, the county seat, is 35 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando.

“That’s a healthy share of work for everybody,” one subcontractor who has worked with the school district in the past tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. “The county’s classroom population is rising rapidly and the district isn’t able to cope with that growth right now.”

In the new-construction category are two new elementary schools at $11.7 million each. One of the schools, Lost Lake Elementary in the Clermont, FL area, south Lake County, saw its student population jump to 1,050 this year from 772 last year. Leesburg, FL would also get a new elementary school.

The big renovation jobs are $25 million at Leesburgh High; $23.3 million at Mount Dora High; $16.7 million at Eustis High; $9.3 million at Tavares High; and $6.8 million at Umatilla High. A new South Lake County high school carries a $40 million tag.

BRPH Cos. of Melbourne, FL prepared the cost analysis for the school district.

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