Delta voters pass measure for new elementary school

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Delta voters approved a $2.6 million bond issue Tuesday that will fund a new elementary school. Superintendent Nate Crowden said construction could start in October.

In the final count, 391 people voted in favor of the school; 266 did not.

"I was a little concerned about the economy being the way it is right now, but patrons in our district want to provide a quality education for our kids," Crowden said.

Based on prevote interviews, the vote was expected to be tight, mostly because it involved taxes.

The bond issue will raise the tax levy by 51 cents per $100 assessed valuation. That equates to an increase of $97 a year for a resident with a $100,000 home.

The new facility will be next to the high school on 13 acres the district purchased in March for $200,000. The district has been putting money in reserve for years in preparation for a new school.

Necessary repairs to the current elementary school building would be nearly as costly as building an updated facility, school board members wrote to district residents. They classified the current elementary building as outdated and unsafe.

Last month, Crowden and teachers detailed a long list of problems, saying there are leaks, crowded halls, teachers who have to share rooms, plumbing problems and too few electrical outlets. The building was built in 1957, and most classrooms only have two outlets, limiting the use of computers or Smart Board technology.

The new school will have two or three additional classrooms and will create a centralized space for elective classes. It will be built to today's seismic codes, Crowden said. The location in town will also be more convenient and safe, he said. Currently, the building is about three and a half miles outside Delta.

Construction of the new building is expected to take less than a year.

"I'm not really surprised. People in our district have always supported our schools," Crowden said.

335-6611, extension 123

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