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Centerville residents to vote on bond for high school addition

An important decision is coming for the citizens of Centerville on March 2. A vote on whether...
An important decision is coming for the citizens of Centerville on March 2. A vote on whether or not to tear down the oldest portion of Centerville High School and replace it with a new addition, or make improvements to the school in other areas.(Centerville Community School District)
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 10:24 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - An important decision is coming for the citizens of Centerville on March 2. A vote on whether or not to tear down the oldest portion of Centerville High School and replace it with a new addition, or make improvements to the school in other areas.

The building was first constructed during World War I. In its 104-year history, it has seen thousands in the Centerville community walk through its halls. But now, school officials are proposing a vote that would lead to the demolition of the original portion of the high school building.

“In fairness to our long-term Centerville folks, anytime you talk about demolishing a 1917 building where thousands of people have graduated from, it’s a sensitive issue,” Centerville superintendent, Tom Rubel.

Rubel says this section of the high school is in bad shape and just isn’t technologically compatible with learning in 2021. The district fears that the longer they wait, the more it will cost them in the long run.

“It’s the analogy of driving a car that has 200,000 miles on it,” said Rubel.

The old part of the high school would be replaced with a brand-new addition. That addition includes 12 classrooms, a cafeteria, and media center designed to enhance learning within the building.

But it comes with a price tag of an estimated $15-million . $3-million of that would come from the state-wide sales tax, the other $12-million would come from a general obligation bond, which is what Centerville residents will be voting on. According to Rubel, the bond issue wouldn’t raise local property taxes for at least ten years.

“The board of education, with our financial consultants, have found a way to plan out ten years without having this $12-million bond issue impact our property taxes,” Rubel explained.

Projected numbers from an architectural firm estimate the addition would cost $1-million less than a renovation of the old building. But if Centerville votes the proposal down, the district will have to look at other options.

“The one thing that is probably clear to our board of education and clear to a lot of our citizens, we have to do something,” Rubel finished.

A 60% majority is needed for the bond proposal to pass. The city of Centerville will vote on March 2.

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