Shepherd voters approved an $11.9 million bond to renovate school facilities on Tuesday, less than six months after rejecting a higher priced project.
The building plan is designed to address overcrowding sparked by the closing of a mold-infested kindergarten building in 2018, and will modernize elementary, middle, and high school facilities.
The ballot was split into high school and elementary items. The elementary item passed 728 to 627, or 53% to 46%, while the high school item passed 959 to 807, or 54% to 45%.
"I'm glad the community reached out to support our schools," said Carl Openshaw, Shepherd School Board chairman.
The results showed that most Shepherd voters were now ready to take on a cost of $149 per $100,000 of taxable value on a residential home — though this election was also shadowed by a leadership crisis for the school district.
The board's next steps are to start working with contractors and architects to begin improvements and to secure the bond money.
Openshaw said he had been concerned the bond wouldn't pass, after an August hailstorm hammered Shepherd, leaving residents dealing with extra expenses.
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The vote came about two weeks after trustees voted to terminate superintendent Scott Carter after he came to work with alcohol on his breath. Carter had been the district's front man for bond advocacy.
Trustees maintained their commitment to the bond.
Plans call for razing the moldy kindergarten building and a 1950s-era former restaurant that now serves as the library. The elementary and high school buildings will be connected with a new wing that would include a partial second story.
Openshaw said he's looking forward to having a new music room and a larger cafeteria, as well as adding safety equipment like secure entrances and surveillance cameras.
Plans for a new district administration office, a meeting room and one classroom were stripped out of the more expensive plan. A planned expansion of a gym was changed into a shell building, and a new lunchroom, kitchen, library, and vocational-agricultural facility were reduced in size. With what remained, planners scoured for places to save money, changing exterior materials, removing windows or making them smaller, and lowering ceilings.
Planned expansions include:
- Six new elementary classrooms.
- A new kitchen and lunchroom.
- A new library with a classroom and two science classrooms on the second floor of the new addition.
- Two remodeled science classrooms.
- A remodel of a high school multi-purpose room into four classrooms.
- Additional remodels of classroom and office space.