Beverly Rich fills out a ballot application Tuesday, Nov. 3 as Jim Cole, left, waits to vote. Election judges were Rose Raab and Eleanor Haley.
By Mark Esper
San Juan County voters approved a 20-year, $1.2 million school bond issue by a vote of 234-105 on Tuesday, Nov. 3, in what School Superintendent Kim White called “a statement of hope in Silverton.”
The election result clears the way for the school to embark on an $11.8 million overhaul of the 98-year-old school and the adjacent gym that was built in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the support from the community,” White said on Wednesday, noting the 70 percent voting in favor of the ballot issue. “I’m stunned at the margin of victory. It’s pretty amazing. I’m excited about the opportunity in front of us to continue to work with the community to preserve the long-term future of our school facilities.
“To me it shows the community is really optimistic about the future of Silverton,” White said.
The school district has received grant funding for the bulk of the building project, which will involve a new heating system for both buildings, a new elevator to make the school building handicapped accessible, and a general rehabilitation of both buildings.
School officials say the project is needed for the school’s facilities to remain viable, and that the bond measure was needed to acquire the grants to make the project possible.
The levy of $115,000 a year is expected to result in a millage levy of 1.613. That would translate into $25.68-a-year property-tax increase on a home valued at $200,000, or $38.52 a year for a home valued at $300,000, school officials said.
That mill levy would be adjusted slightly to keep the annual levy at $115,000 district-wide.
There are 560 registered voters in the county.
Also on the ballot were unopposed school board candidates Paul Zimmerman, Mark Garvin, Dan Salazar and Cliff Pohlman, all of whom were elected. Zimmerman received 262 votes, Garvin received 241, Pohlman received 219, and Salazar received 280.
White said that among the next steps now that voters have approved the bond measure is to put out bids for an architect for the project. She said that is likely to happen in January.
She said a lot of planning, with involvement by community focus groups, will take place.
She noted the many facets of the project, including historic preservation, technology upgrades, energy efficiency, health and safety.
The plan is for the school’s teachers and 65 or so students to find new quarters for the fall semester 2010 as the school building gets a complete makeover.
But White noted that is tentative and will depend on the concepts developed by the architect and other factors.