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Central Lee Schools Could Spend Millions on Facility Improvements

The Central Lee School District's facilities advisory committee recommended about $13.3 million in additions and upgrades to the campus outside Donnellson. It appears voters will have the final say in whether the proposal becomes a reality.

Superintendent Andy Crozier said the school board is expected to vote next month on the final language for a $9.8 million bond referendum, which would be held Tuesday, April 3. He said it would require at least 60% approval to pass.

The rest of the money would come from future sales tax revenue, which does not require a public vote.

Crozier said the committee’s top priority is safety and security of students, staff, and parents. He said with that in mind, the entrances to both the K-8 building and the high school will be revamped.

“So you walk in both spots today and you could literally have access to other areas of the building without hitting the office first,” said Crozier. “In 2018, that’s no longer acceptable for students or parents who attend our school.”

The administrative offices for both buildings would be moved next to the main entrances, allowing office staff to see visitors as they arrive.

Crozier said the other high-cost project would be a new high school gymnasium.

“Our current high school gym is not adequate in seating capacity for many of the events we have, not just sporting events but also concerts,” said Crozier. “I think back to when I was in high school [at Central Lee], back in the 1990’s, people were talking about the inadequacies of the gym at the time and we are still talking about it in 2018.”

Crozier said the new gym would also allow middle school students to use the current high school gym.

The other projects on the list include

  • A new high school fine arts studio – Crozier said the current fine arts room will become the new high school office, so a new space will be built. “They have been utilizing a space that is much smaller than what they require for more than 40 years.”
  • A new high school Ag/FFA space
  • A new Family and Consumer Science space near the cafeteria at the high school
  • A new early childhood center in the former K-8 building office

Crozier said there will also be improved parking and traffic flow at the K-8 building as well as an upgraded student drop-off area.
The district plans to hold several public information sessions regarding the bond referendum prior to Election Day.

Crozier said if the measure is approved, the property tax rate could increase by $2.70/$1,000 assessed valuation for 20 years, which works out to about an extra $150 per year on a $100,000 home. He said the increase should be closer to $1.70/$1,000 at first as the district will look to save on other expenses to try holding down the rate.

“There’s a lot happening throughout the district,” said Crozier. “We hope that people feel that is something that needs to happen over the next several years for our students.”

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.