New school bond coming on ballot in May

School district will

ask for $12.5 million

After four months of receiving input from locals, the American Falls School Board unanimously passed a bond resolution for $12.5 million.

The bond would build a new building at the American Falls Intermediate School, around the existing school gym and band room. They passed the resolution in its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 15.

Voters will decide if the school can bond for the new building at an election on Tuesday, May 17.

Last year, voters rejected a plan to remodel and expand two older buildings on the site and build a new gym at the high school. The plan to build an entirely new building proved popular among attendees at community meetings held by the district.

The new building will house grades four and five as well as third grade, which would be moved from Hillcrest Elementary.

The new bond will come in just as the school district finishes paying off a bond for the new American Falls High School. Because that bond is retiring, and because the new high school was more expensive than the proposed new building, net property taxes for residents would be lower if the bond passes.

The board will also ask for a proposed gym at the high school, but this time the gym will be on a separate ballot from the intermediate school improvements. The cost of the gym is $1.6 million and will provide additional space for high school activities and free up the current intermediate school gym for younger students and community events.

Following community meetings in February, volunteers developed a questionnaire to determine which of three options was most popular. The overwhelming response was to build a totally new building instead of remodeling and expanding old buildings.

“The final resolution reflects the wishes of the input of the parents and patrons of the district,” Board Chairman Bruce Hauber said. “The board heard the message that our patrons want to do it right the first time even if costs are a little more.” …

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