MARION SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES $6.5M BOND RESOLUTION
The ask is official.
Meeting in regular monthly session Monday night, Nov. 13, the Marion School Board voted unanimously to approve a $6.5 million general bond resolution that would be used to pay for more than half of Phases 1 and 2 of a proposed three-phase Master Plan that would renovate the school campus over the course of the next decade.
The bond resolution requires a public vote of district taxpayers and 60% approval; the resolution approved includes a special election set for Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.
Nobody attending Monday’s meeting spoke in favor or against the bond request, and the school board spent little time discussing the matter, passing the resolution in a matter of minutes.
“I personally think we need to go ahead with this,” said Scott Tieszen, president of the board. “It’s a great opportunity to take us into the future and guarantee us a future for at least the next 50 years.
“One of our priorities as school board members is to provide a safe learning environment for our kids,” he continued. “These additions would provide a safer school for us and a better educational opportunity.”
The Master Plan was designed by CO-OP Architecture, which has been working with the Marion School District since February, and was presented to the public through two special informational meetings — one on Oct. 16 and the second on Nov. 6.
The meetings outlined the plan specifically and how it would be paid for.
As presented, Phases 1 and 2 would cost $11.6 million and be funded through the proposed $6.5 million bond (an increase in taxes), $4.05 million in capital outlay certificates (a budgeted expense using existing projected tax revenue) and $1.05 million cash on hand.
Phase 3 would come at a later date and cost an estimated $2.5 million, bringing the total cost of the proposed project to $14 million.
“I think we’ve done an excellent job of being transparent with the public and providing information for them,” said board vice president Jared Schmidt.
Tieszen spoke in favor of the timing of the post-holiday special election.
“That seems like a reasonable timeframe,” he said. “We’re not rushing this and can make sure that everything’s done properly — give people plenty of time to register so people can vote, no matter which side. We’re not here to sway votes, we’re just providing the opportunity.”
The Master Plan addresses numerous challenges with the existing infrastructure that includes multiple additions that have taken place over the course of the past 110 years. School officials say concerns about safety, traffic flow and inefficiencies are addressed through the three-phase plan, and that the renovated campus would be an attraction for families looking at the Marion School District.
As proposed, the three phases would include the following:
Phases 1 and 2
- Renovate locker rooms
- Renovate restrooms
- Demolition of 1914 structure
- New front entrance, administrative and classroom addition
- Relocate weight room
- Library, kitchen and commons addition
- Exterior shop improvements
- Playground improvements
- New bus garage to be relocated on 1st and Juniper
- Demolish 1975 shop building
- Connect the vo-ag shop to the main school building
- New playground (adjacent to school)