Frequently Asked Questions

What was the purchase price of the SWBC Building?


What are the estimated costs for renovating the SWBC Building?

The estimated cost of renovating the SWBC Building for Early Childhood use and all other district departments and services that have been proposed to occupy the building is $2.8M.

What staff and/or community feedback was received before completing this purchase?

Through multiple surveys as well as the Strategic Planning Process the District sought feedback from staff and the community resulting in a need for the expansion of Early Childhood services. 

Why does the Preschool need so much space? Isn’t the building too big?

Bear Cub Preschool is unable to accommodate all of the families who wish to send their children to preschool and has students on a waiting list. Classroom space is currently limited and increased elementary enrollment could result in fewer classrooms being available for preschool at Roosevelt Elementary. In addition to not having enough classrooms, staff who work in Early Childhood programs are spread out throughout the District and there is no space for things such as staff meetings, a work area for the Principals, places to keep meals warm, or even adult restrooms. Current classrooms, which are repurposed spaces, are inadequate for the play-based learning that takes place at this age. 

This expansion will allow one cohesive Birth to Five experience for Scottsbluff families with Bear Cub Preschool, the Sixpence Program, and all staff who serve Early Childhood working under the same roof. Classrooms will be expanded and will be specifically designed for early learning. Space will also be used for staff needs and for things such as indoor play, family engagement, and before and after school care. With additional space will come the ability to expand programming as well as serve more students ages birth to five.

What other District needs will be met through the acquisition of this building?

Many other District departments are currently working in small and inadequate spaces. This purchase will allow the District’s Information Technology (IT) Department to expand taking advantage of the fully equipped data center currently in the SWBC Building and creating additional space for staff. Currently, the District IT Department has three individuals sharing one office in a building that does not have adult restrooms. Staff working in the Safety and Security and Facilities Departments are in similar situations and can be relocated along with the District warehouse.  

In addition, there is potential for the District Office to relocate to this building and for space to be allocated for districtwide meetings and professional development. Districtwide professional development space was removed in order to accommodate current Bear Cub Preschool classrooms.

How will the District use existing spaces that would potentially be vacated?

It is not expected that the Early Childhood facility will be complete until Fall of 2025 but at that time existing spaces could be repurposed. Here are some possibilities: 

  • Use vacated space to expand alternative programming at the secondary level to allow us to better meet the needs of students in Grades 7-10

  • District programs are currently occupying two rented office spaces and one rented storage space, services in those spaces can be relocated

  • Upgrades to Bearcat Stadium locker room facilities (the space below the West Stadium is no longer safe to be occupied)

What is the impact of this purchase on local property taxes? 

SBPS will not take out any bonds or raise the levy as a result of this purchase. Because SBPS is a tax-exempt local government entity, there are property taxes that will no longer be paid by SWBC to local entities who levy taxes. Based on the 2023 valuation and the 2023 tax levy rate, the SWBC Building will no longer be generating $210K in property tax revenue. 


  • Out of that amount approximately $125K will no longer be paid to SBPS. Based on the 2023-2024 tax levy, this loss would only result in an additional 0.68¢ increase in the levy (less than a penny per $100/valuation) for SBPS. If you take into consideration all entities that levy property taxes that make up the $210K the impact is 1.025¢ with 0.68¢ of that going to SBPS. This year SBPS reduced the levy 12.00¢ per $100 valuation.

Is the District using bonds to fund this purchase?  

No. The District is using funds levied into the Building Fund and will not be seeking a bond to purchase or renovate this building.

What about next year? Will the District Increase the levy next year as a result of this purchase?

In September, the Board of Education approved the District budget with a historic 12-cent reduction in the General/Building Fund Levy and a net tax asking lower than the previous year.  Due to an aggressive focus on repayment, the bonds for Bluffs Middle School should be complete and be removed from the levy during the 2024-2025 school year resulting in an additional 7-cent decrease. While state legislation that governs how state aid is distributed to schools and local tax valuation cannot be predicted for the future, the District has the funds to purchase the property now and will not incur any debt load or need to increase any future levies for this purchase. The levy may increase in future years but the District and the Board of Education continue to take a fiscally conservative approach to budgeting for this school year as well as the future.

What about utilities and maintenance expenses? How can the District afford such a large building?

It is estimated that operation and maintenance costs would increase annually by $451K, which includes transportation of preschool students from Roosevelt. This amount is less than one percent of the District’s General Fund Budget (0.73%). The utility cost was estimated based on the current owners' provided figures. The building has not been utilized in the same function as SBPS would so these expenses could be less. The District has a number of viable options for funding the added expenses associated with the building including reducing the annual transfer to depreciation (in the last three years the District has transferred an above-average amount), reducing the allocation to the Building Fund, and savings due to the elimination of rent, utilities and storage fees from vacated space.

Will Preschool Tuition increase as a result of this purchase?  

That is still to be determined. Currently, Bear Cub Preschool charges $350/month for full day and $190/month of half day. The statewide rural average is $300-$800/month (per the Nebraska Department of Education) making Bear Cub Preschool a very affordable option compared to similar programs throughout the state. Fees are adjusted for families that qualify for free or reduced meals and some families are able to utilize the Head Start program in order to attend so options are available for families with limited resources. 

Would it have been cheaper to just construct a new preschool? 

The District considered that as one of many potential options and the cost to construct new is approximately $350 to $400 per square foot. In order to meet the space needs of Early Childhood while not addressing the other inadequate spaces throughout the District would require a building that is 25,000 square feet which would be $8.75-10M, which would not include potential costs to acquire the land, and would be more than twice the cost for the District to both purchase and renovate the SWBC Building.


Why wasn’t the address of the estate the Board was considering purchasing included on the Board Agenda?

Identifying the location the board was considering purchasing is not required by law. In addition, there was a risk of prematurely making the address and price public and could have resulted in the District losing the building to another prospective buyer.


What will the District do with all of the additional space?

There may be ways that space in the SWBC Building could alleviate some of the challenges with our existing aging facilities as well as position the District for future growth. We would like to have a conversation with those we serve about future opportunities for this space.   

What is the timeline for occupancy?

For parts of the building that will need renovation the expected occupancy is Fall of 2025. For District services that can fit into existing space in the building such as IT, the occupancy will be in the Spring of 2024.  

Why is the District choosing to invest in Early Childhood Education?

In addition to being identified as a priority during our Strategic Planning Process, research continues to show that Early Childhood Education plays an important role in the academic success of students:

  • High-quality early childhood education can reduce the percentage of children repeating a grade by 15%

  • High-quality early childhood education reduces the number of children placed in special education by up to 10%

  • High school graduation rates increase around 11% for those who attend a high-quality early childhood program

  • High-quality early childhood programs help drastically reduce the achievement gap

(Source: School Readiness - First Five Years Fund)

The need for this type of programming continues to grow. In 2010 Bear Cub Preschool served 52 students, today SBPS serves 202 students through its Early Childhood programs while still being unable to serve all students. SBPS is committed to our Mission of Every Child, Every Day as well as our Core Value of “A Bright Start and a Promising Future for Every Child” and will continue to strive to provide the best quality educational opportunities for all Scottsbluff children from birth to graduation. 

What are ways the entire community can benefit from the District’s investment in Early Childhood Education?

Early Childhood Education has a significant economic impact in addition to its impact on student achievement: 

  • Investments in high-quality early childhood education can generate up to $7.30 per dollar invested.

  • Access to stable, high-quality child care also helps parents improve their labor productivity by increasing work hours, missing fewer work days, and pursuing further education.

  • The availability of early childhood education programs attracts homebuyers and increases property values by $13 for every dollar invested in local programs.

  • Early childhood education reduces grade retention and is shown to save school systems money for K-12 education.

  • Participants in high-quality early childhood education also show long-term gains in the form of lower rates of incarceration (46% reduction), lower rates of arrest for violent crimes (33% reduction) and a reduced likelihood of receiving government assistance (26% reduction).

(Source:  First Five Years Fund)